COM 510 Business Communications Week 6 Discussion 1

“Making Progress” Please respond to the following: Part 1:How has your communication changed? What are you practicing now on a regular basis? Rate your progress using the following rubric and note how your rating has changed from week 1.Communication Skill LevelsNovice: You tend to “wing it” when communicating. Your messages seldom achieve your desired goals.Intermediate: Your communications are sometimes effective, but you lack an established process for communicating (and you aren’t actively testing your methods).Proficient: You apply some tools and techniques of communications and, while you may do so inconsistently, you are fairly effective when you communicate.Distinguished: You are considered highly professional. You regularly influence outcomes through communications and you are highly communications-oriented.Expert: You have extensive experience in business communications, are well-versed in the topic, and can influence goals strategically while driving action with your messaging.Part 2: How often do you verbally present to others? How do you feel about speaking/presenting in front of groups?
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LEARN
Guide to Managerial Communication, Chapter V: Speaking: Verbal Structures
Speak with Confidence, Chapter 4: (ONLY) Your Structure: Moving Beyond First, Second, Third
Speak with Confidence, Chapter 6: Presenting Technical Information to Non-Technical Audiences
Speak with Confidence, Chapter 11: Interactivity as Part of Your Style
Optional
Speak with Confidence, Chapter 15: Audio- and Video-conferencing
YOU’RE MAKING IMPRESSIVE PROGRESS
Welcome to week 6. You are well on your way to finishing the first course in
your MBA program and advancing your career. Congratulations! This is a big
step. Keep in mind that your work is about more than just the degree. It’s
about what the degree says about you — and what you actually know how to
do. You should already be communicating more like an MBA, which means
that you are more strategic, polished, and effective.
In your next course, BUS520: Leadership and Organizational Behavior, you’ll
continue to add to your MBA toolkit. You’ll learn how to lead teams, while
navigating the complexities of organizational dynamics and change. You will
continue to acquire skills that will set you apart from your peers. So,
remember to keep your momentum going as you get ready for your next
course.
OVERVIEW
Over the next three weeks, we’ll examine verbal communications and
presentations. This week, we will take a closer look at how to prepare for a
spoken communication/presentation. In fact, whether formal or informal,
every verbal communication is a presentation. It may be for one person or an
entire auditorium of people, but MBAs know that every verbal
communication — every presentation — matters. Among those presentations
are such things as running meetings, presenting formal pitches, doing
interviews, presenting ideas, and meeting informally with coworkers to
communicate and/or get their buy-in. All of these communications require
preparation.
So, where we do we start? The content of a presentation is, as in all strategic
communications, the key message — what you are trying to achieve. What is
your goal for the communication? Remember to use your Strategic
Communications Plan as your guide. Your plan will serve as the roadmap for
you to design, research, and prepare your presentation.
ORGANIZING YOUR THOUGHTS
When preparing your presentation, you may draw on multiple techniques to
organize your thoughts and prepare your message. You should always choose
what works best for you, but here are a few methods you might consider:
Outlines
Outlines are a simple way to map out your presentation visually,
while keeping track of the important points you wish to make (as
well as your research/supporting information).
Outlines can take many forms, but the most common is a bulleted,
indented list like this one.
Outlines are a simple way to map out your presentation visually,
while keeping track of the important points you wish to make (as
well as your research/supporting information).
Mind Maps
A mind map allows you to identify your main points visually.
It often contains one circle in the middle with your key message,
goal, and request.
Move outward from your initial circle by creating sub-circles and
lines to connect ideas.
Mind maps are a simple way to track your key message and the
supporting points for that message.
Note Cards
Note cards are one of the oldest means of preparing for a
presentation.
Handwritten notes are simply that: a list of the things you intend to
cover.
PowerPoint (PPT)
PPT decks are great visual aids, which is why they are so popular in
the business world. A PowerPoint deck can also be used as a tool to
help you map out your presentation, especially if, as is often the
case, you’re presenting in PowerPoint.
You can begin outlining your presentation by creating title slides, an
agenda, and entering important supporting points and information.
Keep in mind, if you plan to use PPT as your visual aid, you will
need to come back and revise the PPT deck. Move your planning to
the notes section, and replace text with visuals as appropriate. Your
final deck should have a clean look, and not be a script that you read
to the audience.
TAKE TIME TO REALIGN
Once you have mapped out your content, and know what you’ll cover in your
presentation, it’s time to realign. That means making sure that your mapped
out presentation aligns with your goals. Ask yourself:
1. Will this communication help you reach your goal?
2. Have you accounted for your audience? Have you considered what
they know or don’t, what they need, what they believe, and how they
may react? Have you removed anything that is extra to respect their
time?
3. Is the communication appropriate for the setting, including
technical considerations and time constraints? Are there external
time considerations outside of your control? Will keeping your
audience late create problems? Is your message too long to be
effective? Is it too short to be informative?
YOUR READINGS
Refer to your readings for in-depth information on choosing the right style
and tone, creating an opening and closing that works, using transitions,
editing for brevity, limiting your points, and more.
RISE TO THE TOP
The business world is full of opportunities to present information and to
persuade. Some of these opportunities are obvious. Others you’ll have to seek
out. Take these opportunities seriously. It can be time-consuming and nervewracking to prepare for presentations, but every tough conversation, every
meeting you run, every informal conversation will make you stronger and
more confident. All of these scenarios are opportunities to project your
professional presence. All of them can help establish you as an MBA, and as a
leader in your field.
WHY?
If you seek out opportunities to present, you will gain valuable practice
time.
Prepared, effective communications show that you are engaged, and
willing to take on responsibility and a leadership role.
Engaging in properly prepared verbal communication helps establish
you as a thought-leader within your organization.
Effective communication, and preparing for it, requires thoughtfulness.
The time you spend assessing the situation, the audience, and your own
beliefs will help you develop strong, well-supported stances on issues
that matter to you and your organization.
HOW?
Depending on where you are in your career, different opportunities may be
available to you.
Single Contributor Role
Let your boss know that you are interested in career development.
Ask for opportunities to present in meetings, or suggest that you
research and present on a topic that would benefit your team.
Seek opportunities to work on committees throughout your
organization. These can be great for sharing work and networking
with others.
Managerial Role
Think carefully about your presentations. How can you be more
thoughtful and deliberate?
What opportunities are there to engage with others outside of your
department? Is there a need you can fill? Are there opportunities
you can drive and develop?

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