COMMUNICATION & The 6 Best Techniques for Communicating Clearly and Persuasively. #IncMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I am a big fan of using stories to communicate the truth, not only because research shows that it helps you retain what you’re learning almost 3 times better (1), but also because that’s primary how Jesus taught.

Here’s more ideas (in addition to metaphors) for communicating effectively.

Footnote (1)  Scott Wilcher, MetaSpeak: Secrets of Regenerative Leadership to Transform your Workplace, Ph.D. dissertation (Nashville: Turnaround 2020 Conference, 2013).

The 6 Best Techniques for Communicating Clearly and Persuasively, According to a Speechwriter for Top CEOs by Scott Mautz, Inc. Magazine, 9/17/19.

truly persuasive, impactful communication is a skill that’s learned and earned. Simon Lancaster, one of the foremost speechwriters for politicians and CEOs in the world, has learned and helps others to do the same.

His TEDx talk on clear and compelling communication (especially in speeches) is provocative, with smart advice for upping your verbal voracity. I’ll share the talk below and then I’ll summarize the six keys to persuasive communication within–as well as add my perspective as someone who gets paid to speak from stage.

… Use the power of juxtaposition.

In one of my keynotes I use a line to grab leaders’ attention about the power their words and actions hold. Of this I say, “You can plant seeds of growth, or seeds of doubt.” The line is always fed back to me by audience members afterwards. Lancaster calls this using “balanced statements” and says it triggers an underlying presumption that the thinking behind the statement must also be balanced, and our brain likes balanced things.

…Use metaphors.

Caveat: Make them simple and easy to understand. A good metaphor illuminates the point you’re trying to make in a way 1,000 words can’t match. In one of my keynotes, to illuminate the power of a leader choosing to be liberal in granting autonomy to employees, I compare it to the process by which power flows through a light bulb (a light bulb will flicker at best if you give it only a bit of power, as will a high-wattage employee).

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/the-6-best-techniques-for-communicating-clearly-persuasively-according-to-a-speechwriter-for-top-ceos.html

PREACHING & The 25 Most Popular TED Talks Include This 1 Surprising Word Over and Over, and the Reason Why is Eye-Opening.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I am conducting a communication consultation for preachers in Ohio and it’s exciting to see the improvement every couple weeks. This TED talk research shows that using humor that leads to engagement is a key to great communication. I’ve studied today’s Christian communicators and I have found this to be true. Peruse this short article for more insights.

By Bill Murphy Jr., Inc. Magazine, 5/16/19.

The official TED website includes a list of the top 25 most-watched TED Talks of all time. 

The playlist runs seven hours. The transcripts are a combined 70,000 words. That’s like a 200-page book.

Still, I wondered if analyzing all of the language across all 25 talks might yield some takeaways. With 679 million total views, even though they’re about different subjects, what makes these TED Talks so popular? Would anything jump out?

Laughter

Even more striking than the frequency of “laughter” is the odd fact that none of the speakers actually ever says the word. Instead, it’s inserted into the transcript every time the audiences chuckled or laughed, with parenthesis around it, like this: “(Laughter.)”

Across 25 talks, there are 380 instances of laughter, which works out .948 per minute — just shy of “a laugh a minute.” But then I realized something else.

Applause(?)

Look, a lot of TED Talks are amusing and even interesting, but they’re not uproariously funny…

Often as not, the audience “laughter” in the combined transcript seems more like the audience communicating with the speaker..,

It’s related to “applause,” which appeared 95 times throughout the transcripts. Combine both words, and we reach an average of 1.2 verbal audience reactions per minute.

Of course, there’s also a third, very common way that speakers keep prompting audience engagement: by asking questions. So next, I counted the question marks. There were 579 total…

The power of engagement

Here’s my big takeaway, which I think has implications for anyone called on to give a speech or presentation.

Calling these super-popular TED Talks “talks,” is a bit of a misnomer. They’re more like a guided conversations, with the speakers giving the audience prompt after prompt after prompt — practically begging and cajoling them in fact — to stay engaged.

Combine my admittedly unusual metrics, and you find that there are a total of 1,061 instances across 25 talks during which the speaker either asks the audience a question or delivers a line inducing either laughter or applause. That works out to about once every 21 seconds.

No matter what they’re talking about — from Pamela Meyer’s “How to Spot a Liar,” to Amy Cuddy’s, “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are,” to Elizabeth Gilbert’s, “Your Elusive Creative Genius” — they keep doing the same thing: prompting the audience to engage, over and over and over.

Think of that the next time you sit through a not-so-great presentation, or you have to prepare and give a talk yourself. The secret isn’t just to share information, it’s to prompt engagement — and to keep doing it the whole time you’re up there.

Because anybody can give a talk. It’s another level entirely to lead an engaged conversation.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/the-25-most-popular-ted-talks-include-this-1-surprising-word-over-over-reason-why-is-eye-opening.html

PREACHING & 7 Golden Tips To Make People Engage During Your Presentation

by Paloma Cantero-Gomez, Forbes Magazine, 5/9/19.

“…there are two types of speakers. Those who get nervous and those who are liars.” (Mark Twain).

However, there are also thousands of different tips that can help you to rock it and even enjoy it. 

1. Start with a shocking fact

Such as a personal story from someone you know (or not) or an astonishing data that make everybody open wide their eyes. Beginning your presentation with something sharp and memorable will immediately get everyone’s attention and predispose the audience to believe this will be something worthy to listen to.

2. Introduce your project/product by comparing to other more successful projects/products

… A straightforward and impactful way to make the object or subject of your presentation seems incredibly important is to place it at the end of a list of memorable and successful things or hits. Showing the evolution from a historical perspective and proving your stuff to be the one step forward will may people prone to listen carefully.

3. Make it interactive

Ask your audience to stop you at any point. Make it a two-way experience getting your audience to feel that they are part of the process or the solution…

4. Make the slide visual. Avoid text

Put an important word in the center of every slide. Or even better. Put an icon or image that make your audience think about this word. White text over a dark background is always a catchy combination…

5. Ask for questions. Praise people’s questions. Answer questions

Get audience feedback in real-time… Many different tools can be used for this purpose. DirectPoll let you create quick polls that your audience can access and vote on from their mobile device while showing results in real time. 

Praise people’s questions. This would make them believe they are smart and they got a good point. Everybody likes to feel intelligent.  Answer every question. Even if you do not have a very clear response. ’I am not sure but let me consult it and come back to you’ is always better than making people feel ignored. 

Ask them if it is okay to move on. This will absolutely help all those undecided souls with a shy question in mind to finally formulate it!

6. Take notes of people’s inputs

…Writing down peoples’ comments and inputs provide them with this feeling of belonging. This is a very simple way to make them genuinely think that what they are saying really make a difference and it is taken into consideration as part of the solution.  

 7. Ask the audience for takeaways

Every excellent presentation ends with a neat list of key takeaways. Engaging speakers do not provide them for free but work together with the audience, so actually, it is the audience who came up with the main findings…

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/palomacanterogomez/2019/05/09/the-7-golden-tips-to-make-people-engage-during-your-presentation/#384f86472f65

#CommunicationCoaching

SPEAKING & Your Audience Tunes Out After 10 Minutes. Here’s How To Keep Their Attention.

by Carmine Gallo, Forbes Magazine, 2/28/19.

Cognitive scientists have a reasonably good idea of when audiences will stop listening to a presentation. It occurs at the 10-minute mark...Neuroscientists have found that the best way to re-engage a person’s attention when it begins to wane is to change up the format of the content.

1. Introduce Characters

There aren’t too many commercially successful one-person plays. Few people can pull it off…. include members of the team. Hand off a portion of the presentation…

2. Show Videos

If you can’t bring someone else along, do the next big thing and show a video… Apple does this with nearly every keynote when they show a video of chief designer, Jony Ive, describing the features of a particular product…

3. Use Props 

Steve Jobs was a master at using props. In 1984, Jobs didn’t have to pull the first Macintosh out of a black bag like a magician. But he did. In 2001, Jobs didn’t have to pull the first iPod out of the pocket of his jeans. But he did. In 2008, Jobs didn’t have to pull the first MacBook Air from a manila envelope. But he did. Props are unexpected. They get attention.

4. Give Demos

Former Apple evangelist and venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki, says demonstrations should start with “shock and awe.” In other words, don’t build up to a crescendo. Show off the coolest thing about your product in the first sixty seconds…

5. Invite Questions

A presentation shouldn’t be about you. It’s about your audience and how your product or service will improve their lives… Change it up by pausing and inviting questions before you move on to the next section.

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2019/02/28/your-audience-tunes-out-after-10-minutes-heres-how-to-keep-their-attention/#15109dee7364

COMMUNICATION & How one church used Instagram story wallpapers as invitations for Easter (examples).

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  My friends at United City Greensboro, a No. Carolina church, used the following Instagram story wallpapers.  Perhaps they will inspire you as you plan for a worship opportunity.

image.pngimage.png

(Please don’t use the artwork of United City Greensboro without permission.  Find out about this innovative group of believers here: http://www.unitedcitygso.com

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FAITH & New research suggests people who see God as someone they can talk to, take the Bible literally, “because this is how the Bible presents God.” #BaylorUniv

by Sarah Watts, Forbes Magazine, 2/22/19.

A new study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion has some interesting findings about gender and God.

…Kent and co-author Christopher M. Pieper, PhD analyzed data from nearly 1400 respondents who participated in the Baylor Religion Survey. In addition to being asked about frequency of church attendance and frequency of prayer, respondents were also asked questions about attachment, such as whether they felt like God is loving and caring, or whether they felt He was distant and uninterested in their day-to-day life. Respondents were also asked questions about Biblical literalism, including whether they believed the Bible contained any human error, and whether it should be taken word-for-word on all subjects as a historical text.

more so than gender, researchers found that Biblical literalism is tied to a person’s attachment to God. In other words, the more personally attached to God a respondent was, male or female, the more likely he or she was to interpret the Bible literally.

People who take the Bible literally tend to percieve of God more as a person who can be interacted with,” says Kent. “You can talk to God, he hears you, he talks back. Our argument is essentially that in order to sustain a personal relationship with God as a person, one has to take the Bible literally because this is how the Bible presents God. He’s a being that talks to prophets and prophets talk back.”

Biblical literalism is also not exclusively tied to any religious group, Kent says.

“People who look at religion tend to associate literalism with evangelicals,” says Kent. “What we found is that if we break out each of these religious groups – Evangelicals, Protestants, Catholics – we found that you have literalists in each of these categories. There’s more of a relationship between literalism and close personal attachment to God than there is to denomination.”

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahwatts/2019/02/22/new-research-tells-us-who-is-most-likely-to-take-the-bible-literally/#4f53662f7eab

COMMUNICATION & Researchers find it’s getting harder to talk about God #NewYorkTimes

by Jonathan Merritt, New York Times, 10/21/18.

More than 70 percent of Americans identify as Christian, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to them. An overwhelming majority of people now say they don’t feel comfortable speaking about faith, most of the time.

… More than one-fifth of respondents admit they have not had a spiritual conversation at all in the past year. Six in 10 say they had a spiritual conversation only on rare occasions — either “once or twice” (29 percent) or “several times” (29 percent) in the past year. A paltry 7 percent of Americans say they talk about spiritual matters regularly.

But here’s the real shocker: Practicing Christians who attend church regularly aren’t faring much better. A mere 13 percent had a spiritual conversation once a week.

According to my survey, a range of internal conflicts is driving Americans from God-talk. Some said these types of conversations create tension or arguments (28 percent); others feel put off by how religion has been politicized (17 percent); others report not wanting to appear religious (7 percent), sound weird (6 percent) or seem extremist (5 percent). Whatever the reason, for most of us in this majority-Christian nation, our conversations almost never address the spirituality we claim is important.

A study in the Journal of Positive Psychology analyzed 50 terms associated with moral virtue. Language about the virtues Christians call the fruit of the spirit — words like “love,” “patience,” “gentleness” and “faithfulness” — has become much rarer. Humility words, like “modesty,” fell 52 percent. Compassion words, like “kindness,” dropped by 56 percent. Gratitude words, like “thankfulness,” declined 49 percent.

A decline in religious language and a decrease in spiritual conversation does not necessarily mean that we are in crisis, of course. But when you combine the data about the decline in religious rhetoric with an emerging body of research that reveals how much our linguistic landscape both reflects and affects our views, it provides ample cause for alarm.

Read more in the Dallas News reprint of the New York Times article here … https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2018/10/21/getting-harder-talk-god