At a breakfast networking meeting I went to this morning, we had a guest, Chris Edmondson, doing a 10 minute presentation on communications. He referenced Albert Mehrabian’s work which identifies three main components of communications – words, tone of voice, and nonverbal behaviour – and their relative importance. Chris is an energetic and engaging speaker who clearly knows his stuff.
For me, there was nothing new conceptually, but it was a timely reminder; as I was listening and reflecting, I reckoned I had not been presenting myself recently as well as I can and should.
I came away with three important thoughts:
1) In a previous life I used to do the same sort of presentations as Chris. I used to run day-long skills development programs on such things as communications. So I know the models of good communications. But, do I use them?
As I have not run programs on communications for a long time – I work mainly 1:1 and with small groups now – I have got out of practice of standing up and talking. I would never claim I was ever the world’s greatest speaker but with planning and practice I was competent. I was ‘consciously competent’. There were perhaps even times when, in the flow, on a roll, I was more than competent.
So, Chris’s presentation has brought what has been sitting in the back of my brain, lying there forgotten, to the conscious front on my brain. Next time I speak, I have promised myself that I will pay more attention to Mehrabian’s model and again be consciously competent.
2) My second thought follows from the first. How easy it is to let slip what we learned to do years ago. As the world changes aorund us, we need to regularly check we are still competent at what we do. As I don’t make so many public presentations these days, I don’t get much opportunity for feedback about how well I communicate. Chris’s presentation made me reflect. Hearing something we already know well can still stimulate reflection and learning if it is done in an engaging way.
3) The third thought was that I don’t have to do much to get back to being a competent public speaker. As they say, you never forget how to ride a bike. I don’t have to ‘learn’ a model of good communication; I learned that years ago. I just have to switch it on again and with a little conscious practice I reckon I can soon be competent again.
Thanks Chris! 10 minutes refresher well used.