How are you communicating with your employees?

How are you communicating with your employees?

Meetings are important ways to communicate information. The problem is they can get boring really quick.

First, is the meeting necessary?  Unless you can identify a clear purpose, don’t call a meeting.

Second, be sure you have an agenda that everyone can see so they know what to expect.

Third, it needs to start on time and even more importantly finish on time.

Fourth, let your people know first about the progress that is being made; then move to what has to be done in the next week or month?  Ask people for help in getting these projects accomplished. Bring them into the solution rather than just telling them what to do.

No venture or business is likely to succeed if those involved do not clearly understand what it they are supposed to accomplish and how. Lack of communications can only result in confusion and poor administration and ultimately poor results.

Giving Voice to Greater Success


Talent shows are back on U.S. television and bigger than ever. One of the newest is The Voice, where vocalists compete for a recording contract and $100,000. What makes this show unique is its innovative “blind audition,” in which judges select contestants based solely on their voice.

How would you measure up if your entire presentation was judged solely on your voice?

Once you’re comfortable with your content and organization, it’s time to enhance your delivery using these techniques to make the most of your unique voice.


The Four Ps of Vocal Expressiveness


Let’s take a closer look at each of these important skills and learn some easy ways to put them to work for you.


Power refers to volume — how loudly or softly you speak. You want to ensure that you’re clearly heard and understood everywhere in the room.  In addition, your volume should reflect the emotional content of your presentation. For example, if your goal is to “rally the troops,” then you’ll naturally be louder and more expressive.


Pro Tip: If you’re concerned that you may not be heard across the room, simply ask someone to raise a hand if they’re having difficulty hearing you. Listeners will be happy to help — and may even pay closer attention to what you’re saying!


Pace is how quickly or slowly you speak. Pace is influenced by:

  • The complexity of your subject
  • The size of the audience/room
  • Your ability to articulate

Many people speak too fast during presentations, especially when they are nervous or unprepared.

Pro Tip: An unvaried pace can sound monotone. Try to mix it up a bit, which keeps listeners engaged and highlights key parts of your presentation.


Pitch is your tone of voice. Many speakers do not communicate their feelings adequately because they do not vary their pitch and rhythm enough. A natural, conversational tone provides vocal variety and helps you make an emotional connection with your audience.


Pro Tip: Being conversational means sounding friendly, using contractions and short words, avoiding jargon — in essence, using the everyday approach of talking with a colleague.


Pause refers to the spaces between sentences, phrases or words. Pauses serve as verbal “punctuation marks” that:

  • Give the audience time to think about your content
  • Add variety and provide a break, keeping listeners attentive
  • Provide time for you to breathe and speak at a controlled pace

If you’re afflicted with the “ums,” “ahs” or “you knows,” conscious pauses are also the best way to start eliminating these useless fillers.


Pro Tip: Start adding pauses to your presentations by taking a breath at the end of every major phrase or sentence.


Communications –

  1. Communications is 100/100
  2. Master the art of listening
  3. Talk to people in terms they understand
  4. Whatever you speak out of your mouth, will happen
  5. Teach people what they have to know – exactly;
    Tell them what, how, when… and why  


  1. Communications is 100 /100
    1. You have 100 % of the responsibility to be sure the person understands. If they don’t — it is your fault.
    2. 93% of your message comes from non-verbal communications
      1. 55% on what they see and how you look — Visual
      2. 38% on how you sound — Vocal
      3. 7 % on the message itself — Verbal

      4. Visual Communications
    3. Posture and Movement
      1. Stand tall
      2. Don’t Rock from side to side OR back and forth OR pace
    4. Gestures and Facial Expressions
      1. Hands relaxed
      2. No tapping OR finger drumming
  • 5 Steps to Friendliness —
    1. Say hello — Say thank-you — Look them in the eye — Smile — Go the extra mile.
  1. Eye Communications
    1. Hold eye contact for 5 seconds – listeners are comfortable with that — look somewhere near their eyes – if you feel intimidated look at their forehead.
  2. Smile and make them relax a bit.
  1. Dress and Appearance
    1. People make their first impressions of you in the first 5 seconds then spend the next 5 minutes adding to that impression
    2. Since 90 % of what they see is covered, people look at your face and form a judgment about you. What do you want them to think?
  1. Vocal Communications
    1. The voice carries the message
      1. Emphasize the correct word — One word can make an entirely different meaning … “Now is the time for a change”
      2. Voice tone and quality counts for 38% of your message.
  • Voice tone – think about how you want to sound.
  1. Breathing — How quick – how many breathes? The pace of your speaking
  2. Projection — How loud?
  3. Resonance — How deep?
  • Relaxation – How stressed out or calm?
  1. The use of Language
    1. Using “non-words” errrrrrs, ahhh, ughhhhhs
    2. Use a pause effectively… just stop and think before you speak again. It’s OK.
  1. Verbal Communications
    1. Get your message clearly phrased
    2. Can your listener repeat the critical points in a few words
    3. General MacArthur – it’s even more important than giving a good order is issuing orders that can’t be misunderstood
    4. Speak the language of respect
      1. Don’t rush
      2. Use their name out-loud
  • Even if you are angry, don’t shout
  1. Address the problem, don’t attack the person
  2. Minimize the interruptions – cell phones, writing while speaking, looking at your watch
  3. Learn the power of a silent pause
  • Look for a way to say “yes”
  • Make praise a regular part of your day – 10 penny rule. Find them doing something right.
  1. The Art of Listening
  1. Engage them with all their senses – the more you engage the more they listen
    1. Sight – look them in the eyes
    2. Touch – shake hands
  • Sound – speak to them appropriately
  1. Taste — share a candy
  2. Smell — always be “neutral” to “nice”
  1. People tune out 1 second at least every 10 seconds
    1. Their mind works 5-7 times faster than you can talk (800 words per minute vs 125 )
  2. It is more likely that they are NOT listening to you then they are.
  3. The more you involve someone, the more you can convince them and get them to do what you want. So get them involved.
  4. Myths of listening
    1. I don’t have to concentrate because listening comes naturally
    2. I’m a good listener because I always get the facts straight
  • You should never interrupt someone when they are speaking
  1. A good listener paraphrases everything
  1. Do they get it? Make sure they do before you go on.
    1. Have them write it down. — take a note
    2. Have them say it back to you
  • How do you know if they get it? If they don’t?
  1. How does this benefit the listener?
  2. Do they understand WHY they are doing this?
  3. Do they understand the consequences of doing this right? Doing it wrong?
  4. How long before they totally tune you out?
  5. Are they really ready to listen to you?
  6. Really listen to them – not pause before you can get your point in





  1. Talk to people in terms they understand
  2. Do you speak in jargon? Technical gobble-de-gook that you understand but your listener does not?
  3. Does the listener know your jargon?
  4. Do they need to in order to get them to do something?
  5. Are you able to translate your jargon into easy-to-understand terms?
  6. Consequences – will they be self-motivated or are you going to have to do the job for them?
    1. Good
    2. Bad
  1. Whatever you speak out of your mouth, will happen
    1. The mind can not tell the difference between real experiences and ones that are vividly and repeatedly imagined.
    2. Don’t say something mean, spiteful, rude, nasty or destructive
      1. Is that what you want to happen?
    3. Moron — stupid — idiot — You attack the person not the incident or issue.
    5. You create the environment that people live in.
    6. If it is not a place that encourages positive creativity, then they will find somewhere else to go.
  1. 8. Teach people what they have to know – exactly; Tell them what, how, when… and why    
  2. What do they need to know to do their job correctly?
  3. Who is teaching them today?
  4. We learn formally and informally
  5. You need both to make it stick
  6. E.A.D. – use it every day to tell people what to do
    1. Exactly what should I do? — L
    2. How they should do it? — E
  • Thanks for doing it?  — A
  1. Why should I do it? — D

Appeal to others by studying how they talk

By matching speakers’ preferred communication styles, you can build both rapport and alliances with a range of people. Here are four communication styles and how you can relate to them:

Paraphrasers focus on literal meaning. If you make a cynical joke or test their gullibility, they’ll probably misunderstand you. They accept what they hear at face value and seek to absorb it in a clean, orderly way. They’ll respond to you with phrases, such as “Let me make sure I understand you. . .” or, “Just to review. . . ”

Manage paraphrasers by thinking in logical sequence. Avoid vague or ambiguous comments. Don’t try hinting at what you want—come right out and say it.

Thematizers favor concepts over hard facts. They’re guided by general themes, such as overtaking a mighty competitor or employing outside-the-box thinking, to spur innovations. You can spot a thematizer by her eagerness to discuss lofty ideas rather than nitty-gritty details.

Win over these communicators by reinforcing the value of their favorite theme. Then talk in terms of drafting a “road map” or “recipe” to achieve the larger goal they’ve embraced.

Storytellers use anecdotes and parables to draw life lessons. Abraham Lincoln was a master storyteller; like many wise, diplomatic leaders, he relied on parables to defuse conflict and convince bickering parties to work together.

To bond with a storyteller, sit still and listen. Don’t feel obliged to respond with your own anecdote to top what you’ve just heard. And don’t interrupt the speaker—wait until he concludes and summarizes the “moral of the story.”

Problem-solvers love quizzes and trivia contests. They enjoy brain-teasers and spend their lunch hour completing crossword puzzles. They pose difficult questions (Why does that work that way? What’s causing that reaction?) and then dig for answers.

Appeal to them by framing assignments as challenges. Emphasize the need to seek solutions, fix what’s broken or solve a riddle.


Call attention to your remarks: Package your points so others listen

To ensure that your message sinks in, you can raise your voice or repeat yourself. But there are gentler and more effective ways to drill home an important point to your staff.

Try these techniques to enliven your remarks to capture others’ attention:

Cite a startling fact. Before diving into the meat of your message, whet the audience’s appetite to hear more by surprising them. For example, if you’re going to evaluate marketing opportunities in Alaska, begin by noting that the entire state’s population is less than Columbus, Ohio.

The easiest place to unearth tantalizing facts is to browse a Web search engine or check an encyclopedia. By beginning with an eye-opening fact, you not only spark interest but also make others wonder what else you have in store. You’ll captivate them to want to stay tuned for more.

Teach a history lesson. Place your subject in a historical framework. That helps listeners put your topic in the proper context so that they understand it better. For example, if you work at a public company, peruse old annual reports and compare financial results from years ago to today’s numbers.

Shift your viewpoint. Guide your listeners to think about the subject from an entirely different perspective. Encourage them to pretend that they’re hearing your message as young children, or an alien who’s studying earthlings, or someone with amnesia. By asking them to step outside of their routine and listen from a fresh vantage point, they will definitely pay attention and possibly come away with newfound insights.


Inject flair into your remarks

Charismatic communicators don’t take talking for granted. Rather than relying on whatever words first pop into mind, enliven your comments with creative imagery.

This way, you increase the odds that others will heed your message. You also come across as an intelligent, compelling communicator.

Whether you make a literary allusion (“their campaign reminds me of Charles Dickens: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…'”) or place your company’s current events in historical context ( “I don’t want us to assume the battle’s over—look what happened when a newspaper jumped the gun and reported that Dewey beat Truman”), your goal is to find colorful ways to drill home your points.

Inject flair into your remarks by applying these strategies:

Look for clever comparisons. When you read a book or a newspaper article, note any evocative metaphors. Create a file of your favorite articles and weave them into your conversation. Example: A credit union manager noticed in a Wall Street Journal article about how Russia charges high fees to let international airlines use its airspace that Russians were called “modern-day Barbary pirates” (referring to pirates who plundered North African seafarers in the 19th century). “I was in a meeting discussing how our competition was imposing all these banking fees on their customers, and I said, ‘They’re acting like modern-day Barbary pirates, plundering the innocent.’ My boss just loved that line.”

Paint word pictures. If you’re trying to explain a lofty or complex concept in concrete terms, provide a visual image. How? Begin with the phrase “Imagine that…” Then choose a familiar device (stacks of dollar bills, football fields, grains of sand) to describe a less familiar idea (effect of taxes, vast distances between points).


Overcome public speaking jitters: Transform fear into positive energy

Surveys show that having to give a speech is the No. 1 fear among Americans. That doesn’t mean you have to accept a dry mouth and a wet forehead.

Here’s a three-step plan that can help you battle the fear of public speaking. You won’t make all the anxiety go away, but at least you can prepare for it and devise strategies to make it work for you, not against you.

  1. Visualize a triumphant finale. In the days before your speech, imagine yourself uttering the last sentence of your speech and basking in rousing applause. Rehearse that last remark in a mirror so that you have it down cold. See yourself in the very room where you’re scheduled to give your talk—the chairs filled with people, the artwork on the walls, etc.
  2. Keep busy. In the hour before your speech, your fear level will soar. That’s totally normal, so don’t worry. Experienced speakers report that the five minutes leading up to their presentation are the worst. After they get over that initial hump and start the actual speech, they relax and largely forget that they’re nervous.

Rather than sit around letting yourself get the jitters, fill the hour before your speech with lots of activity. Talk on the phone, complete a report, read a new potboiler—whatever it takes to divert your attention temporarily.

  1. Release nervous energy. Don’t bottle up your anxiety. Unleash it in the form of physical movements, from hand gestures to lively facial expressions. If you stand ramrod straight and don’t move a muscle, you’ll sound tight and look even tighter.

If you like to pace, wait until transitions between your main points to take a few steps; this way, you visually reinforce that you’re moving from idea to idea. You can even wiggle your toes if you’re really nervous—no one in the audience will notice that!