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How to communicate effectively

by Barb Boose One Comment

Most of us can relate to two workplace nightmares: being held hostage in a boring, unproductive meeting and feeling the heebiejeebies of having to give a presentation.

DMU’s master of health care administration program can help. Through a unique agreement with Toastmasters International, DMU offers two courses designed to enhance students’ communication competency.

“We need to recognize the importance of communication so we can effectively administer to the whole patient and their families, to communicate up and down the hospital administration and to the community,” says Distinguished Toastmaster James Sandin, who teaches the courses.

Run a great meeting

  • Determine the meeting’s purpose – what you see happening as a result.
  • Define the meeting’s length and agenda. Stick with both.
  • Invite people who will truly bring value to the discussion. Explain how you would like them to participate – as brainstormers, advocates, conflict resolvers, problem solvers.
  • Prepare meeting materials and setting.
  • Communicate with key players before the meeting – important contributors, potential naysayers and especially those directly affected by any agenda items. That can contribute greatly to the meeting’s success.
  • Through purposeful, focused discussion, let participants know the meeting’s goal makes it worth their time. How will the meeting make things better for everyone?
  • If you’re not the meeting manager, don’t be the manager’s assassin. Work to achieve the meeting’s goal. If you leave a meeting complaining, you’re one reason it wasn’t successful.
  • At the meeting’s end, summarize results and clearly define duties and next steps. Follow up in a timely manner.

 

Give a great presentation

  • View the event as a conversation with an expanded number of listeners. Most audiences want you to succeed and won’t notice your nerves.
  • Make eye contact with a different audience member each time you make a complete statement.
  • Consider the goal of your talk – to inform, persuade, inspire, motivate.
  • Prepare and practice, practice, practice. Know your material, your audience and the room. Rehearse with any equipment or visual aids. If possible, practice on video and then critique your content and style.
  • Breathe. Smile. Pause – it can be a powerful way to emphasize a point.
  • Visualize yourself giving a powerful presentation, and remember there’s a good reason you are giving it.
  • Hang around after your presentation for further conversations and feedback. “That’s why a lot of ministers stand at the door after their sermons,” Sandin says. “It’s an opportunity to bring closure for people who may have questions or want more information.”
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