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Communications Tips for the New Year

January 16, 2013

Tips for 2013
By: Anne Strychalski

In 2013 the most popular communications platforms will expand and reach even greater audiences than they do today. More people will read newspapers online, more people will tweet and post to Facebook and their blogs, more speeches will be given and those live streams will be played across the world and more people will launch their own websites. Although that means greater opportunity to reach a general or targeted audience, it also means a greater opportunity to confuse or offend your audience and tarnish your reputation. The following is a list of tips for any communication medium.

Be courteous and consider the culture of your audience. You may be saying all the right things, but in the wrong way. Nonverbal communication, appropriate amounts of eye contact, ways to address the issue, amount of affect shown and the distance between individuals are just a few examples of how cultures vary and should be researched to best communicate with your audience.
Be appropriate. Do not make inappropriate or racially biased comments or swear. Making any of these mistakes can make your audience feel uncomfortable and offend them.
Choose your words carefully. For example, the word firstly is defined in the dictionary; however, its lack of common use may make listeners question whether or not you invented a word.
Make sure your audience understands. A question or statement may be clear to you, but the audience may not quite understand. Look for signs of understanding such as head nodding and ask questions to check for understanding. Following a logical order or numbering your points can enhance comprehension.
Be correct. You will lose credibility if you state information with errors in it or publish material with errors. Have others look over your work– they’ll bring a different perspective and find errors you overlooked.
Make eye contact. Without eye contact, you may appear not credible or interested.
Be clear and concise; do not ramble. No matter the topic, it should be easy for your audience to understand the meaning of your message.  To be clear, use common terms or define uncommon terms. To be concise, include information that is necessary and minimize miscellaneous information.
Be complete. If your audience looks or seems confused, you should consider including information such as names, dates, times and locations.
Be credible. If an audience is unfamiliar with a speaker or writer, they will have less trust than a familiar audience. Provide credentials, such as education, work or research to ensure the audience will listen.
Vary formats. Some people prefer written document versus a speech to learn something new. Provide that for an audience. Spoken material should appear in print format somewhere to ensure different learning styles are considered.

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