Speech and small group communication are seen in everyday life in classrooms, business meetings and religious gatherings. Effective speech communication and small group communication go hand in hand. Both require effective listening, good verbal and nonverbal skills and the ability to clearly deliver a message to groups of people. Without effective communication, groups are directionless, without purpose and unmotivated. Effective communication in speech form and in small groups provides the necessary information to achieve a common goal.
Effectively deliver the message or information intended. The communication should provide inspiration, motivation and clear direction for the group or crowd listening. It should dispel misunderstandings and define expectations and terms for the particular assignment. Don’t use vague statements. Instead, be specific and intentional with the words used and the illustrations given. Take time to pre-plan and prepare what you are going to say before you say it. Write an outline and practice the speech or small group message before you deliver it. Have a friend or coworker listen to you and provide feedback. Have this person let you know if what you’re communicating is easily understood, concise and applicable. If it’s not, rework the message so it is short, clear and comprehensive.
Identify the types of speech communication and small group communication. All communication is separated into two types: verbal and nonverbal. Verbal communication is all oral communication that uses words. Think about the word choice and usage in your speech or small group communication. Keep it simple and free of any offensive language. Don’t use words that can be misinterpreted or perceived as condescending. Identify your nonverbal communication as well. Nonverbal communication is when you send a message without words. For example, your posture, gestures and vocal tone are all sending nonverbal messages to your audience or group. Critique yourself after given a speech. Video record yourself and watch your nonverbals. Assess if your nonverbal communication complimented your verbal skills or if it distracted from the message.
Gather feedback from your audience or small group on a regular basis. Feedback is the most effective way to improve your verbal and nonverbal communication skills. After giving a speech or addressing your small group, create a survey that gathers information to provide feedback on how effective your message was understood. Create the survey to have 25 to 50 statements. Have the audience rate the effectiveness on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being strongly disagree and 10 being strongly agree. Write statements like, “I clearly understood the information,” “I clearly understood what is expected of me,” “The nonverbal messages helped strengthen the message.” Gather the feedback sheets and tally up the numbers to see what areas you were strong and weak in. Create an action plan to strengthen yourself in the areas of weakness.