Our accomplished webinar host, Dr. Heather Frederick, invited the founder of MasterTalk, Brendan Kumarasamy, to share his insight on becoming an excellent communicator.
Many of you are well on your way to completing your doctoral degree; in doing so, you’re preparing yourself to be exceptional leaders in your field. Brendan’s tips will help you not only succeed in this quest but also show you the importance of communication in all of your relationships.
The more clarity you have in your communication, the more power you will have to impact the world positively. Excellent communicators create “powerful leaders and change-makers.”
Communication starts with dreaming
Brendan declares, “communication starts with dreaming.” Dreaming about your careers, aspirations, relationships, health, etc. Then, Brendan asks, what about communication? “Have you ever dreamed about your communication skills?” Your communication skills are the primary means to accomplishing everything you dream of.
So as we begin, ask yourself: If I was an exceptional communicator, how would this benefit my work, career, and personal life? Would I be more efficient, less stressed, find it easier to help others, and be more successful? The quick answer is absolutely YES! Let’s dive in and find out why and how to communicate more effectively.
Communication as a powerful tool
Brendan says the first thought we have about communication is centered around fear, but that viewing communication from a different lens– one that shows communication as a powerful tool that can help you be more effective, have a greater impact, encounter less stress, and create less confusion and more time for other tasks. Clarity equals power, and excellent communication includes clarity as an integral aspect. That is the lens through which Brendan sees the idea of communication.
Three daily exercises to boost your communication skills
Here are three daily exercises (that take just a few minutes) that will help you hone your communication skills so you can be one of the top communicators in your field.
1. Random Word Exercise
Pick a word (like chair, avocado, pen, or light bulb) and create an impromptu presentation about it (60-90 seconds). This exercise helps you deal with uncertainty. Uncertainty is a certainty about life– you never know what to expect, especially when it comes to communication and having conversations. That’s why this exercise is helpful: “if you can make sense out of nonsense, then you can make sense out of anything.” So, when you can speak intelligently about a random word, you can give an impromptu talk about anything!
3 benefits of the random word exercise:
- Removes almost ALL anxiety when giving presentations at work
- Super easy to practice. Aim to dedicate 10-15 minutes each day and practice at least 5 times per day.
- Less anxiety: impromptu speaking at work will rarely worry you because of industry experience.
2. Question Drills
Each day, for five minutes, answer one question someone may ask about your area of expertise (your research/project area). This is a great way to start preparing for your oral defense!
- Make a list o all the questions you get asked by everyone in the drill
- Brainstorm ways together to find answers to the question as a team + make slides on the points you come up with
3. Practice Like a Jigsaw Puzzle
Practice the intro and the conclusion of your presentation first. Once you nail that, then work on the middle. This is a practice strategy that will help you become more confident and more proficient in learning your presentation material and the actual act of presenting.
Tips & Take-Aways
- When practicing the Random Word Exercise. Don’t critique yourself on the first 100 trials – for the first 100 or so trials, the key is to practice the exercises daily – be consistent, and you will get results!
- The Question Drill is a great way to curb imposter syndrome. If you answer just one question daily for a year, you will have practiced answering 365 questions in your area.
- Every interaction you have is an investment in your personal brand (are you making deposits or withdrawals?)
- Remember: The world will always make room for passionate people
- Visibility is profitability: Communication makes the difference in life and career.
If you enjoyed Brenden’s presentation, check out his interview on The Happy Doc Student Podcast, where he shares an additional exercise – one that will improve your communication skills AND make someone’s day.
Check out the following past webinar episodes
- Webinar #1: Unleash Your Genius: Better Dissertations & Doctoral Projects in Less Time with Less Stress
- Webinar #2: Attack Your Day Before It Attacks You: 5 Skills To Master To Get The Most Out Of Your Day
- Webinar #3: Feedback: The Currency of Success
- Webinar #4 Building a Supportive Network
- Webinar #5 Graduate Research in the Library
- Webinar #6 Master the Basics of APA 7
- Webinar #7 Dissertation Wisdom: Research, Notes, and Themes, Oh My…