F YOU WANT TO GET HEARD,
YOU NEED POWER TALK...
How did you sound at your last meeting--and how were you perceived? Is your speech style holding you back? In this breakthrough book, linguistic expert Sarah Myers McGinty shows you how to evaluate your communication skills and make your everyday speech more effective. Demonstrating the differences between "Language from the Center," which projects authority, and "Language from the Edge," which is collaborative, McGinty reveals why you need to master both styles, and how to:
Be aware of your verbal strengths and shortcomings
Tailor your speech style for any audience or situation
Get recognized for your ideas and achievements
Communicate better via e-mail and telephone, as well as through conventional letters, notes, and memos
Give exciting and memorable presentations.
DO YOU NEED POWER TALK?
Do you tend to start sentences with phrases like: "I hate to mention this but..."?
Does the message on your voice mail sound businesslike, confident, and clear?
Do you know the difference between inspiring and nagging, leading and browbeating?
When you start a crucial business conversation, do you know what your goal is and what language strategy will work best?
Do you find yourself getting into verbal arguments--and then wishing you hadn't spoken up in the first place?
For all of us, communication is a constant challenge. This book demonstrates why words often fail us and how we fail words. Concise, clear, and designed to make quick improvements in the way you speak, it gives you a step-by-step plan for redesigning your communication style and shows how to use language to get ahead in every phase of your life.
Ever been in a meeting and wondered after speaking, "Did they just hear me or did they really hear what I had to say?" McGinty, an expert in the field of linguistics, guides the listener toward a pubic speaking style that's effective in a variety of situations. She shows how to recognize the best ways to communicate, from the center or the edge, and how one style of communication isn't always adequate. Practical tips, like recording your telephone etiquette to analyze how you sound, are also discussed, as well as modern technology hints like how to use voice-mail and e-mail effectively. If you want to communicate like a leader, Power Talk will set you on the path to being heard. Recommended. Marty D. Evensvold, Arkansas City P.L., KS Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 01, 2002
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Excerpt from Power Talk by Sarah Myers McGinty
Language from the Center
Getting to the top of any given mountain was considered much less important than how one got there: prestige was earned by tackling the most unforgiving routes with minimal equipment, in the boldest style imaginable.
--Jonathan Krakauer, Into Thin Air
Like any thrown-together group--a pickup basketball game, a rowboat full of survivors, an ad hoc committee planning the annual company picnic--the eight people who tumbled out of the hotel's minivan for the "scenic trail hike" had different styles, values, and expectations for the day. Jerry was determined to demonstrate how experienced he was. Hector was committed to being jolly. Lynn was there to burn calories. Dana was there for the views. Alyse, a city dweller, and Walter, who had recently had knee surgery, were worried that they might not be able to keep up. Jack and Harold were focused on lenses, apertures, light levels, and film speed. To make this a successful experience, the hotel had assigned the group two guides, Claire and Sheila. Claire led the pack up the hill. Sheila brought up the rear. The two stayed in contact throughout the day with walkie-talkies and occasional conversations when the group paused to rest, eat, or reconsider the route.
Claire and Sheila agreed that both their jobs were important, but the hikers in general looked upon Claire as the leader of the hike, the guide in charge. Jerry and Lynn hung out with Claire. The more experienced hikers sat with her on breaks. Claire checked the route, made decisions, and set the pace. Alyse, Walter, and Hector hung out with Sheila. Sheila kept the stragglers going; she motivated and encouraged the slower hikers, she accommodated the talkers who wanted to chatter rather than climb, and she dealt with the inexperienced, the injured, and the out-of-condition. Claire's seemed like the important work, although Sheila's was probably just as difficult. Throughout the day, Claire's role as declared leader was reflected in her speech style:
"Remember to pace yourselves for the whole day." "You need to be drinking water at least every mile." "We can't take that route and be back before sunset." "I know...that looks interesting...but there's a drop-off and the creek was too deep to cross yesterday. We'll take a different route to the summit."
Claire's language style inspired confidence in her group. When she said the route was closed, that settled it. And if she found the pace too fast or too slow, the hikers made the proper adjustments. No one knew if Claire was highly experienced; none of the hikers had ever met her before. But through her speech style, she was able to gain the confidence and the trust of her group, and they listened to what she told them.
When we speak, we often choose to be either Claire or Sheila. We choose to lead or to encourage. Certainly, both styles are important because each has its own advantages and disadvantages. This chapter, however, looks at Language from the Center, the language habits and speech markers that sound like leadership and aim for control.
What Language from the Center Sounds Like
1. Directs Rather Than Responds
2. Makes Statements
3. Contextualizes with Authority
4. Contradicts, Argues, and Disagrees
5. Practices Affect of Control
What Language From the Center Conveys
Language from the Center, like Claire, takes the lead. It suggests competence and confident familiarity. The speaker is knowledgeable, working comfortably in familiar territory; since he's been here or done this before, we can trust him. There aren't going to be any unpleasant surprises. Language from the Center makes a speaker sound like a leader.
Language from the Center Sounds Like Competence, Knowledge, and Authority
Donna Demizio wants to talk to you about your desk. For the last eleven years, Demizio has sold the workstations and design services of Office Creations, the largest contract furniture dealer in New England. Her knowledge of desks, chairs, cubicles, partitions, pedestals, lighting, and laterals has helped Demizio average about five million dollars a year for OC over the last four years. This year--it's only September--she's written up six million dollars.
Demizio gets to the office at 7:00 a.m. and checks her mailbox: five hand-written messages and six faxes. Not bad, she thinks. She heads to her desk and logs on to e-mail: eighteen messages. Okay--with luck, that's half an hour's work. Next, her voice mail, which can warehouse up to twenty messages. It's full.