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5. Non Verbal Communication

Types of nonverbal communication and body language

There are many different types of nonverbal communication. Together, the following nonverbal signals and cues communicate your interest and investment in others.

Facial expressions

The human face is extremely expressive, able to express countless emotions without saying a word. And unlike some forms of nonverbal communication, facial expressions are universal. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the same across cultures.

Body movements and posture

Consider how your perceptions of people are affected by the way they sit, walk, stand up, or hold their head. The way you move and carry yourself communicates a wealth of information to the world. This type of nonverbal communication includes your posture, bearing, stance, and subtle movements.

Gestures

Gestures are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. We wave, point, beckon, and use our hands when we’re arguing or speaking animatedly—expressing ourselves with gestures often without thinking. However, the meaning of gestures can be very different across cultures and regions, so it’s important to be careful to avoid misinterpretation.

Eye contact

Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is an especially important type of nonverbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction. Eye contact is also important in maintaining the flow of conversation and for gauging the other person’s response.

Touch

We communicate a great deal through touch. Think about the messages given by the following: a firm handshake, a timid tap on the shoulder, a warm bear hug, a reassuring pat on the back, a patronizing pat on the head, or a controlling grip on your arm.

Space

Have you ever felt uncomfortable during a conversation because the other person was standing too close and invading your space? We all have a need for physical space, although that need differs depending on the culture, the situation, and the closeness of the relationship. You can use physical space to communicate many different nonverbal messages, including signals of intimacy, aggression, dominance, or affection.

Voice

We communicate with our voices, even when we are not using words. Nonverbal speech sounds such as tone, pitch, volume, inflection, rhythm, and rate are important communication elements. When we speak, other people “read” our voices in addition to listening to our words. These nonverbal speech sounds provide subtle but powerful clues into our true feelings and what we really mean. Think about how tone of voice, for example, can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, or confidence.

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4. Effective Presentations

 

Leaders make presentations to a wide variety of audiences, for example, Board members, employees, community leaders and groups of customers. Usually there is a lot that can be quickly gained or quickly lost from a presentation. A little bit of guidance goes a long way toward making a highly effective presentation.

Note that meeting management skills are often helpful in designing an effective presentation. Also note that the following guidelines are intended for general presentations, not for training sessions where your presentation is to help learners to gain specific knowledge, skills or attitudes in order to improve their performance on a task or job.

Basic Guidelines For Designing Your Presentation

1. List and prioritize the top three goals that you want to accomplish with your audience. It’s not enough just to talk at them. You may think you know what you want to accomplish in your presentation, but if you’re not clear with yourself and others, it is very easy – too easy – for your audience to completely miss the point of your presentation. For example, your goals may be for them to appreciate the accomplishments of your organization, learn how to use your services, etc. Again, the goals should be in terms of what you want to accomplish with your audience.
2. Be really clear about who your audience is and about why is it important for them to be in the meeting. Members of your audience will want to know right away why they were the ones chosen to be in your presentation. Be sure that your presentation makes this clear to them right away. This will help you clarify your invitation list and design your invitation to them.
3. List the major points of information that you want to convey to your audience. When you’re done making that list, then ask yourself, “If everyone in the audience understands all of those points, then will I have achieved the goal that I set for this meeting?”
4. Be clear about the tone that you want to set for your presentation, for example, hopefulness, celebration, warning, teamwork, etc. Consciously identifying the tone to yourself can help you cultivate that mood to your audience.
5. Design a brief opening (about 5-10% of your total time presentation time) that:
a. Presents your goals for the presentation.
b. Clarifies the benefits of the presentation to the audience.
c. Explains the overall layout of your presentation.
6. Prepare the body of your presentation (about 70-80% of your presentation time).
7. Design a brief closing (about 5-10% of your presentation time) that summarizes the key points from your presentation.
8. Design time for questions and answers (about 10% of the time of your presentation).

 

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3. Critical Reading & Thinking

We can distinguish between critical reading and critical thinking in the following way:

  • Critical reading is a technique for discovering information and ideas within a text.
  • Critical thinking is a technique for evaluating information and ideas, for deciding what to accept and believe.

Critical reading refers to a careful, active, reflective, analytic reading. Critical thinking involves reflecting on the validity of what you have read in light of our prior knowledge and understanding of the world.

For example, consider the following (somewhat humorous) sentence from a student essay:

Parents are buying expensive cars for their kids to destroy them.

As the terms are used here, critical reading is concerned with figuring out whether, within the context of the text as a whole, ” them ” refers to the parents, the kids, or the cars, and whether the text supports that practice. Critical thinking would come into play when deciding whether the chosen meaning was indeed true, and whether or not you, as the reader, should support that practice.

By these definitions, critical reading would appear to come before critical thinking: Only once we have fully understood a text (critical reading) can we truly evaluate its assertions (critical thinking).

Critical thinking allows us to monitor our understanding as we read.  If we sense that assertions are ridiculous or irresponsible (critical thinking), we examine the text more closely to test our understanding (critical reading).

Conversely,  critical thinking depends on critical reading.  You can think critically about a text (critical thinking), after all, only if you have understood it (critical reading).  We may choose to accept or reject a presentation, but we must know why. We have a responsibility to ourselves, as well as to others, to isolate the real issues of agreement or disagreement. Only then can we understand and respect other people’s views.  To recognize and understand those views, we must read critically.



2. SQ3R Reading Strategy

SQ3R is a useful technique for fully absorbing written information. It helps you to create a good mental framework of a subject, into which you can fit facts correctly. It helps you to set study goals. It also prompts you to use the review techniques that will help to fix information in your mind.

The acronym SQ3R stands for the five sequential techniques you should use to read a book:

  • Survey:
    Survey the document: scan the contents, introduction, chapter introductions and chapter summaries to pick up a shallow overview of the text. Form an opinion of whether it will be of any help. If it does not give you the information you want, discard it.
  • Question: Make a note of any questions on the subject that come to mind, or particularly interest you following your survey. Perhaps scan the document again to see if any stand out. These questions can be considered almost as study goals – understanding the answers can help you to structure the information in your own mind.
  • Read: Now read the document. Read through useful sections in detail, taking care to understand all the points that are relevant. In the case of some texts this reading may be very slow. This will particularly be the case if there is a lot of dense and complicated information. While you are reading, it can help to take notes in  Concept Map format.
  • Recall: Once you have read appropriate sections of the document, run through it in your mind several times. Isolate the core facts or the essential processes behind the subject, and then see how other information fits around them.
  • Review: Once you have run through the exercise of recalling the information, you can move on to the stage of reviewing it. This review can be by rereading the document, by expanding your notes, or by discussing the material with colleagues. A particularly effective method of reviewing information is to have to teach it to someone else!


1. Learning Preferences

Have you ever wondered why you have difficulty learning from a particular instructor, whereas another seems to explain things in just the right way? Did you ever question why the course that your friend said was so easy turned into a struggle for you?

To put it simply, your learning style (or learning preference) is the way you tend to learn best. It involves your preferred method of taking in, organizing, and making sense of information. Learning styles do not tell us about a person’s abilities or intelligence, but they can help us understand why some tasks seem easier for us than others. There are several benefits of thinking about and trying to understand your learning preferences:

  1. People learn most effectively when the strategies used are closely matched with their preferred learning style.
  2. Sometimes we can improve our learning by knowing what our strengths are and then doing more of what we’re good at.
  3. Often we can improve our learning by knowing what our weaknesses are and trying to enhance our skills in these areas
  4. Different situations and learning environments require different learning strategies, so it’s best to have a large repertoire from which to draw.

Expanding Your Learning Preferences

There are 3 learning style preferences:

  1. Auditory (Learning by Hearing)
  2. Visual (Learning by Seeing)
  3. Kinethsetic (Learning by Doing)

Learning is something we do everyday. Each of us has different strengths and intelligences. We all perceive, take in and process information in different ways (e.g. seeing and hearing, reflecting and doing, reading and writing, reasoning logically and intuitively, steadily and in fits and starts). We each need to find a method of study that works best for us.

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