ORAL COMMUNICATION NOTES

2.1 SPEECHES
Speech or spoken word is very powerful, it can stir people to mutinies and rebellions it can turn a hostile crowd to a friendly gathering.
The key to the success of many politicians, industrialists, managers, and salesmen lies in their ability to speak.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD SPEECH
1. It is clear.
Your speech should convey to the audience the ideas, emotions, facts or arguments you want to express.
2. It is like an informal talk
When you speak there should be a perfect rapport between you and your audience.
3. It is vivid and concrete
Use concrete facts that are easy to comprehend and visualize. Instead of saying the population of India is growing very fast, a speaker said see how fast our population grows one Australia is added the population of India every year and Australia’s area is
two and half times that of India.
4. It is brief
An audience can last up to twenty minutes. Your speech should be tailored to that length. To achieve brevity, include only a few points
and elaborate at length
5. It is interesting
Quotations, anecdotes and humorous touches often make a speech interesting. Quotations should be from acceptable authorities. They should be familiar but not worn out. Anecdotes should be new brief and in good taste. Humor should be topical,
original spontaneous and gentle.
6. It is audience oriented
A good speech should be tailored to the wavelength of the audience. Consider the following points:

  • Is the audience general or specializes one? This will help you determine the depth of the subject
  • How large is the audience? For a small audience the speech will be more like a chat in a large gathering you will have to be
    rhetorical.
  • What is the age group of the listeners? Your reference and illustrations should conform to the tastes of that particular group.
  • What is the social religious political and economic views and prejudice of the listeners? What is the expected audience
    response?

PROFILE OF A GOOD SPEAKER
1. “A good speaker is lively, interested enthusiastic and vital.” He treats his audience as a group of living people. He is keenly interested in the subject he is speaking about and takes pain to make the audience equally interested in it.
2. “A good speaker is earnest”
3. He does not speak just for the sake of speaking – in order to show off, to impress the audience with his erudition or his authority.
4. “A good speaker has a sense of responsibility to others on the program” He does not take more time than what is allotted to him.
5. “A good speaker has a sense of responsibility to his subject” He does not bite more than he can chew. He does not spread it thin.
6. “ A good speaker has a sense of leadership; he stands up tall, he talks eye to eye , he speaks responsibly and with authority as a leader should’
7. “ A good speaker keeps his head” He is not get carried off by his over- enthusiasm or over-confidence.
8. “ A good speaker tries to be balanced and sane”
9. “ A good speaker keeps his sense of humour”

PREPARATION FOR A SPEECH
1. Research your topic thoroughly. Identify the points for discussion and decide what you have to say about them.
2. Plan your speech in three parts;

  • The beginning should arouse the interest of the audience.
  • The middle should be devoted to discussion
  • The conclusion should summarize the main points, and if some action is to be taken it clearly tells the audience what they are required.

3. Time your speech to make sure it is neither too long nor too short.

4. Look for some suitable quotations or anecdotes if possible.
5. Arrange your points in such a way that strong points are kept at the beginning.
6. Tailor your speech to the intellectual level and general taste of the audience.
7. Make sure that your delivery is going to be good, rehearse the speech use a tape recorder or video recorder to fine tune your tone and mannerism.

2.2. MEETINGS
Meetings are held to discuss particular issues or matters. For the meetings to be successful the following should be done.

  • Define the purpose of the meeting clearly
  • Distribute the agenda among all members.
  • Provide all the facts e.g. you may distribute a copy of previous year results and some comments to the members.
  • Restrict the number of invitees

If you are the chairman of a meeting
To be successful as a chairman observe the following:-
1. Punctuality
2. Clearly define the purpose of the meeting
3. Begin with a positive approach and don’t start on negatives.
4. Your opening remarks should be brief. Short openings suggest the urgency of problem.
5. Sight out the initial silence. After the opening remarks there’s silence because of members general reluctance to speak. Some people may be thinking about the probability and others not want to speak. The chairman should assist
members to open up.
6. Remain impartial sometimes conflicts and personality save ups may arise. The chairman should be able to control the situation. He should not take sides.
7. Control emotional build ups sometimes during the discussion emotions and tensions may build up. The chairman should use humour to control tempers.
8. Draw contributions from all members.
9. Control the meeting
10. Creatively control opposing points of view.
11. Clarify contributions
12. Make frequent summarize of progress of the meeting to all parent.
13. Point out the decisions reached.
14. Point out differences.
15. Point out the course of action.
16. Close the meeting in time.

IF YOU ARE TO ATTEND A MEETING
1. Go to the meeting well prepared.
2. Study the agenda carefully, try to find out the items of your interest and the items in which you are capable to make contributions.
Carefully read the information circulated in advance.
If you want to use any written or visual aids to make your contributions effective prepare them in advance.
If you are not an experienced speaker its advisable to write down points.
3. Study other members who are attending the meeting. Their characteristics, like and dislikes, story and weak points, the way they speak and how they react to different ideas and note their areas of specialization.
4. Speak at the end most appropriate time if you have good ideas. Ideas that you have keen to get accepted, present them early enough so that other members can start thinking along the lines of those ideas.
5. If the discussion is moving along desirable lines, you can wait and present your ideas towards the end of the meeting. This will happen if you are giving an air of finality to the discussion and other members may agree with you and the meeting is closed.

2.3. DISCUSSION
Discussion – it’s a co-operative, critical exchange of opinions, information and ideas about one general subject. Its guided by a leader for the purpose of seeking appropriate, acceptable answers to a question.
Can be conducted before a audience or it can be held in a closed session.
An ideal one involves a force exchange and evaluation of information by open minded participants.

PURPOSES OF GROUP DISCUSSION
1. The most important purpose is to solve complex problems. When one or two people are incapable of solving a problem, they often call experts from a variety of areas collective wisdom assists in solving complex problems.
2. To publish existing problems
3. To give individuals experience in becoming leaders and discussants by participating in group deliberations.
4. To collect information from many different people in widely separated Geographical, occupational or social-economic sections of society.

FACTORS INFLUENCING DISCUSSION
1. Amount of research
The amount of research done by participants before the discussion may affect both the quality of discussions and the quality of the results.
2. Underlying motives or secret interests
May also affect discussion quality and results e.g people who are not honest and open because they stand to lose something (friends, positions, status etc) may sway a discussion to protect their secret interests.
3. Nonverbal, vocal & verbal messages
Disgusted expressions, stressed words, or technical terms may suggest attitudes and emotions of the people involved.
4. Sensitivity of the participants to each other and to themselves. If participants are unaware that others are tense, shy, frustrated or bored they’ll probably not be able to draw them into the discussion and benefit from their judgments and
opinions.

Other factors may be:

  • Time of day i.e. when the discussion is conducted
  • Place where the discussion occurs
  • Size of the group discussing
  • Time limit for completing a task

Types of Discussion Questions
There are 3 general types of questions.
1. Question of fact
To answer this is the discussants try to find which aspects of a particular problem are true, probable or false. These kind of discussions are called “Fact – finding” sessions.
2. Questions of value:
These questions evaluate different ideas to see which one is best. Discussants compare and contrast the worth or value of one thing with another to make judgments.22
3. Questions of policy
These attempts to discover if something should or should not be done.
Discussion questions should deal with subjects that are:
Significant, important and worth discussion

ESTABLISHING A FRAMEWORK FOR AN ORDERLY DISCUSSION.

It should follow a logical, sequential pattern; the following is the modified plan for discussion.
1. Locate and define the problem
They need to state the problem clearly so that everyone understand and it may require some terms to be explained from the very beginning, to eliminate confusion once the discussion gets under way.
2. Establish criteria for a workplace solution
After recognition, what the question involves the group must decide on the:
Standards of criteria that must be met if a solution is to be accepted by the entire group.
3. Analyze the problem
It’s a step of exploring the problem, looking for its causes, current status, historical background, probable future and the reason a solution or answer is necessary.
4. Suggest and evaluate possible solutions
The fourth step is to place as many solutions or answers to the problem before the group as possible. Discussants need to be sure each solution meets the standards agreed upon in the second step.
5. Evaluate all solutions and select the best one
In this, they compare and contrast all the alternatives, solutions or answers. The advantages and disadvantages of each one should be weighed in an attempt to discover the one that would best solve the problem.
6. Suggest ways for testing or conveying out the solution.
This step may not be included if the discussion purpose is only to solve problem. However it becomes the last step if the group discusses ways and means of carrying out a solution.

METHODS OF EVALUATION
There are two methods of evaluation, namely:

  • interaction and participation diagrams
  • discussion critique

Types of Discussion
The type of discussion held depends on such factors as number of participants the subject
to be discussed and the time allowed for the discussion.
1. Panel Discussion – Involves four – eight members. There are no prepared speeches , instead discussions are expected to follow specific lines to find an answer to question. No set pattern for participation.
2. Symposium
This requires individual discussants either to deal with one assigned area of a discussion question or to present their unique viewpoints on the subject.
3. Round table discussion
This doesn’t include audience participation although observers may be present. It usually begins with a statement of the problem. This is followed by a series of brief reports or observations by several specialists then discussants spontaneously
interact.
4. Lecture Discussion
It includes periods of formal, structured presentations or lectures by the discussion leader. Members of discussion group may be given advance assignments to prepare for
the lectures. The leader normally designates specific individuals to respond to certain questions, information or statements. The discussants are allowed to interrupt the leader with questions.
5. Progressive Discussion
It involves several small groups which discuss various, assigned aspects of the same question at the same time. Before the end of discussion period, each leader reports the findings and decisions made by his/her group to the entire session.

2.4. INTERVIEWS
DEFINITION
Interview means view between. It means two people meeting for the purpose of getting to view each other or knowing each other. The interviewer is interested to know whether or not the candidate can fit in the open position. On the other hand, the interviewees will asses the organization to decide whether or not to join it.

INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES
They include;
1. Screening
This refers to the preliminary interview which is done when there are many applicants for a given post. The aim of screen interview is to eliminate unqualified applicants and prepare a short list of qualified applicants.
2. Random appearance
This method is used when physical appearance is the essential requirement for a given post, such as for bouncers, Air hostesses, policemen and others.
3. Tests
Written or oral tests can be used to test the intelligence, proficiency and general knowledge of the applicants.
4. Under stress interview
In this method the candidate is provoked to test his poise and how he will acquit himself from difficult situations. The candidate may be asked embarrassing questions or asked to demonstrate how he can carry out a given task such as
selling items to panelists.

INTERVIEWER’S PREPARATION
You should;

  1. Have a thorough knowledge of the company, its profile, operations and employment policies.
  2. Know the nature and profile of the job to be filled.
  3. Know the type of personality, character or temperament required for the job.
  4. Send all inter view messages on time to candidates.
  5. Make proper seating arrangements for candidates in the waiting room.
  6. Make the interview room conducive for the interview that is with no interruptions.
  7. Supply each member of the committee with a copy of the candidate’s bio-data.
  8. Decide before hand who is going to initiate the interview

HOW TO CONDUCT AN INTERVIEW
1. Welcome the candidate in a friendly way,
Offer warm smile to the candidate, talk to him in a friendly tone of voice, hold a small talk with him in an area he is familiar.
2. After the candidate has been made comfortable the you should start talking to him on the subject you want to know about. You will want to know the candidate’s qualifications (ability to do the job), aspiration(willingness to do the job), social
effectiveness and emotional balance (relationship with others) character (trustworthiness), physical vigour and energy, spouse ‘s attitude towards the job, financial stability, willingness to travel and willingness to make permanent move.
3. Make notes a bout the candidate and discuss the notes with other panelists when the candidate has left.
4. give the candidate time to ask questions
5. If a decision is to be made immediately let the candidate know shortly after the discussion.
6. Thank the candidate for his time and tell him by when he should expect a response from you.

PREPARING FOR AN INTERVIEW

  1. Make sure you know everything there is to know about yourself, such as academic qualifications, ambitions, hobbies, work experience.
  2. Gather as much information about the company as possible e.g. their operations, services, personnel remunerations.
  3. Carry with you all your certificates to the interview room.
  4. Prepare a list of questions you predict the interviewers may ask.
  5. Prepare appropriate answers for your predicted questions.
  6. Prepare questions that you could like to ask during the interview.
  7. Dress appropriately; example for men a black or navy blue suit and a plain light coloured shirt may be winning colours
  8. Arrive for the interview on time, arrival time is ten – fifteen minutes before
    the time of the interview.

HOW TO CONDUCT YOURSELF DURING THE INTERVIEW
1. Walk carefully into the interview room, do not wear a scowl or a stupid smile when entering the interview room.
2. Greet the interviewers politely avoid shaking hands unless the interviewers stretch their hands to you.
3. Do not sit down until you have been asked to do so, adopt a natural and upright composed posture when seated.
4. Pay attention to what is being said and do not interrupt the interviewer.
5. When responding give relevant answers only and be audible enough for all the panelists to hear you.
6. Do not boast of your capabilities or qualifications.
7. If there is something you don’t know admit it straight a way.
8. If you are being interviewed by someone who does not possess as many degrees as yourself do not put on airs. Give the interviewers your co-operation and respect.
9. Be calm throughout the interview do not loose your temper or argue with the panelists these may not work your way.
10. Adopt a positive approach throughout the interview; express your enthusiasm for the job and the company. If you give an impression that you are not interested you may realize that the interviewer is also not interested in hiring you.
11. Avoid shifting in your seat, chewing fingers, smoothing your hair, adjusting the knot of your tie or playing with the pen or paper. All these are signs of nervousness. Nervousness is your worst enemy in interview.
12. When you are asked about your previous employer, be frank but do not criticize your former employer. Mention only positive aspects of your former employer.
13. Ask questions where full information has not been provided by the interviewer.
14. When the interview is over do not forget to thank the interviewer. You can ask tactfully when the results will be made known to you.

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