Search This Blog

Monday, January 31, 2011

Be Nice!

This week has been very busy with people phoning for new enrolments in the business.  This great and one of the fantastic things I have discovered this week is that I need to be patient (or more as the case maybe).
Several phone calls have come from people with English as a second language, they are wanting help for themselves or for their children.  They are often very difficult to understand and interpreting their needs is at times a big mission.  BUT of course I slow down, keep it simple and be nice because they are a potential client...and we like those!
This leads me to ponder my intolerance when I phone  a business who outsource to international call centres (eg Telecom)....that feeling of dread, will they understand me, how long will it take to get my message across, impending doom and frustration creeps up on me before the call is even connected.
So, now imagine what it must be like for the person at the call centre (and it is a real person after all) ..they have worked hard to learn English, they have a good job that pays their bills and they have to put up with me an my shocking attitude to our differences...how awful must that be.
All I need to do is SLOW DOWN, KEEP IT SIMPLE AND MOST OF ALL BE NICE...just like I am with my potential clients when they ring.  I have not had the chance to try out my new attitude as yet...but I will keep you posted....worth a try don't you think?
REMEMBER: Successful communication is about the receiver not the sender!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Big Mistake

A guy rang us yesterday, this is how the conversation went..."hey, can you guys help me with the speech I have to give at my daughters wedding?"......... "of course, would love too...where are you at with it?"......."It's all written, I just need you to look over it and let me know if it needs any changes.  I'll email it to you."
This leads me into this weeks blog. I struggle with the approach that still dominants not only many individuals but also most of our schools and major learning institutions.

Please note: WRITING GOOD A SPEECH IS NOT THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL CONNECTION WITH AN AUDIENCE.
Is that loud enough for you!
As a teacher, ongoing student and adjudicator of the "Art of Public Speaking" the frustration is sometimes overwhelming!
For your reference there are 3 kinds of speech delivery:
1. Manuscript (fully read either from a paper or PowerPoint presentation)
2. Memorised (basically a manuscript delivery that you have spent hours memorising)
3. Extemporaneous (prepared, planned, rehearsed but delivered in a natural, relaxed manner allow you to connect with the audience).

There is a time and place for each method but your daughter's wedding is most certainly the place for the extemporaneous delivery.  In my opinion, most circumstances require this style of delivery.
Of course there is a lot more to this science than this but I urge those of you who do get the opportunity to speak in public to get some advice, build some skills and save us all from the tedious job of listening to you read your script or read with you, a painstakingly prepared PowerPoint presentation. Perhaps you could just email it to us and we can take in with a substantial glass of vino while sitting the LazyBoy!
No offence intended and the man on the phone....he is coming in next week for a session on how to connect with his audience in an extemporaneous way!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do we need to speak properly English?

Fink back to a time when fings were simple, when Noo Zuland was a place of woks and wabbits, where choodren drunk moolk everyday as skool and the noos weeders had posh accents that sounded like the Queen. 
So what has changed?  In the 50's and 60's it was fashionable for parents to send their children off to "Elocution" lessons with a teacher who was generally an elderly lady who took lessons for pin money in her front room.  As an emerging nation many saw it as important that we could correctly pronounce the Queens English and it was certainly one of the key factors that distinguished your children from the working class.
In the 40 or so years that has passed, we now have a very distinguishable 'kiwi' accent which is a delight.  It distinguishes us from the rest of the world, it blends us together.
But I draw the line on some things.....bad habits and substitutions in pronunciation and articulation are a major issue today. I am not sure where this has snuck in to our language but as a parent I do tend to think that many of us don't encourage our pre-schoolers to ditch the baby talk before they get to school and want to enjoy the cute factor for as long a possible.  So when young James is Prime Minister of NZ, the rest of us are not going to be saying "isn't is cute how he says wadicle"!
We are seeing more and more people who "fink" and don't "think" having completely dropped the "th" sound from their speech.  "Woks" and not "Rocks", "Choodren" and not "Children" are the key offenders and then there is the annoying sibilant "s" grating away. This particular blog was inspired tonight by a TVNZ correspondent with a very annoying sibilance issue.....come on TVNZ, you sorted out the weather lady, we know you can do it!
(It is important for you to note that I am not referring to speech language issues here but merely bad habits out of control).
I often hear intelligent, articulate people in important positions scrambling their way though our language and there is simply is no need for it.   With some advice, commitment and execution of simple exercises all issues can be simply tidied up.....it is no more challenging that starting an exercise regime.  So if you are a "finker" stop "finking" and do something about it.....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

and the blogging begins.....

Two big milestones for me this week, I am an official "Twitterer" and now a "Blogger'.  With a little more time over the holidays there has been some thinking space to contemplate adding these forms of communication to the business and here we are.
Looking at demographic of our students and the growing number of adults we have as clients, everything I read tells me that online communication has become the preferred mode and it is here to stay...for better or worse.
Now, some would suggest that online communication is in direct conflict with the principles that Tall Poppies Group work so hard to deliver.  I strongly disagree.  As a society we are increasingly distancing ourselves from each other, for many of our young people, interpersonal communication is through instant messaging and while writing a report or posting a blog are skills they have mastered, ask them to stand in front of their class or colleagues to deliver a presentation and they are way out of their depth.
So we do need to work together.  Just as us oldees need to gain confidence to create a facebook account, there is a whole generation of people who need to gain confidence to communicate.....so it looks like we are both here to stay.
Stay watching as I feed you ideas, tips and thoughts about the work we do and how we can add real value to people's lives.