Aug 7, 2012

BOOK: Effective Communication

Everyone Communicates Few Connect
John C. Maxwell

Last year, my goal was to design effective, differentiated lessons, bringing endless joy to the hearts of all of my students... I'm still working on that. This year, I'm striving to improve my relationships with the parents and students. As it happens, Aimee asked us to join a group and discuss Maxwell's book. The time was well spent. It's nice to know that, when we begin the year, a group of us, from several grade levels, will have a similar goal--to improve the communication at our campus. Between teacher and teacher, teachers and students, teachers and parents. Although, in retrospect, we should have given our group a name. To build unity.

Aimee's Communication Team!
It's time to ACT up!

There's so much good stuff in this book. I'll leave it to you to read it and use it. I want to point out a couple of lists that spoke to me. Get it? Spoke to me. Score!

In order to connect to a live audience, it's important to have confidence, be authentic, thoroughly prepare, use humor, and focus on the people in the audience.

Mr. Maxwell includes five guidelines (106).
1. Talk to people, not above them
2. Get to the point
3. Say it over and over and over and over again
4. Say it clearly
5. Say less

When capturing the attention of your audience, Mr. Maxwell lists a few of his techniques (179).
1. Start with a Comment About the Situation or Setting.
2. Introduce Yourself.
3. Relax.
4. Begin with Humor.
5. Create a Sense of Anticipation.

When activating your audience, Mr. Maxwell offers three suggestions (182).
1. Ask Questions.
2. Get People Moving.
3. Ask People to Interact.

Mr. Maxwell borrows from Rabbi Edwin H. Friedman: The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change. Communication does not depend on syntax, or eloquence, or rhetoric, or articulation but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard. People can only hear you when they are moving toward you, and they are not likely to when your words are pursuing them... (64).

Somehow, someway, we have to get the students moving toward us. I have to figure that out. From G/T to SpEd, the quiet to the loud, the engaged to the apathetic, I must connect to all of them. When I do, I'll let you know. And you'll owe me something fierce.

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