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Understanding Communication and Audiences in General
by Andrew E. Schwartz

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You can order food in a restaurant, debate an issue of intense controversy, or train a company in time management skills. All of these human communication situations have certain aspects in common. Understanding these similarities allows a presentor to analyze their own presentations more effectively.

Don’t Over-Isolate: Many presentors, however, tend to over-isolate specific interchanges between themselves and other people and ignore these very similarities. As a result, they frequently use the wrong words or language or speak in a tone which is inappropriate to the training situation. They think they have to avoid the use of language which is unfamiliar to the audience, thus possibly oversimplifying what they say.

Two People: No More, No Less: Think and deal in terms of individual persons. You may be speaking or writing to ten or a thousand people at the same time. Yet, you are always communicating with only one person. People in a group may be very much alike in terms of mutual interests, but they think and react individually. People gathered together in groups are much more easily influenced than when alone. If one person in a group laughs, cries, refuses, agrees, or hates, the others are much more likely to do the same than if they were alone. But when you analyze what really takes place in such situations, you realize that each individual in the group has been communicated with and led to his decision to act at the individual level.

In training, a presentor seeks to accomplish specific changes in specific people. Your whole aim is to reduce your training attempts to the problem-solving level, which includes measurement of your accomplishments. Not only does remaining individual-oriented helps you to do this in an effective and conclusive way. It also helps you to retain your own confidence and to place your failures to communicate in proper perspective.

As a presentor, you will be able to see a single change in a single person, out of perhaps a hundred tries, as a success. That is a good percentage. Obviously, the more successes the merrier, and the smaller the number of tries, the more critical becomes the necessity to increase the possibility and probability of success through a strategic, problem-solving approach.


Andrew E. Schwartz, CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates of Boston, MA a comprehensive management training and professional development organization offering over 40 skills specific programs and practical solutions to today's business challenges.

Copyright, AE Schwartz & Associates. All rights reserved.
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