Last week I shared one of the key communication principles I learnt from a conference I recently attended. There were more than 14 speakers at the conference, and most of them spoke for forty minutes. It reminded me of myself as a communicator, an educator in my classroom, and made me question just how effective I am being as a communicator.
Here’s another thing I learnt about being a great communicator:
The wise communicator emphasizes encouragement and inspiration and avoids judgement and criticism.
At the end of his allotted forty minute talk, one speaker concluded by making several judgemental comments about audience members using their mobile phones and Blackberrys during his talk. He proceeded to ‘scold’ the audience for not having the self discipline to put their phones away whilst he was speaking. I found this both offensive and amusing at the same time. Firstly, if he was a more engaging speaker then perhaps more people may have listened. Secondly, and more importantly, his conclusions about people not listening were incorrect. I saw several people around me actually making notes about his talk on their phones! In fact, one audience member was actually posting to the social networking site ‘Twitter’, saying positive things about the speaker he was currently listening to!!!
I learnt two important things from this experience.
Number 1, don’t jump to conclusions about what your audience is or isn’t doing.
Number 2, never ever judge or criticize your audience. That’s a sure way to instantly lose respect. It doesn’t matter the age of your audience, if you lose their respect then it is very hard to win it back.
Next time you ‘make a judgement call on the state of your audience, test your assumptions before you act. And if you are correct, then respond in an appropriate way. Avoid judgement and criticism at all costs.
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly,
Enjoy the moments.