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Section 27
Effective Script Delivery: Friendly, Professional, and Positive

Table of Contents | NCCAP/NCTRC CE Booklet

The final step is to develop speaking patterns, body language, and appearance to match your script. In this way you continue planning for success. The ability to plan for success in all details is one mark of an assertive person.

Phase 1: Prepare To Practice
You should now have in hand a script that is worded as carefully as you can make it. So now, do the following.  Select one of your scripts from the previous sections that will be the easiest to deliver.  Perhaps to a staff member with whom you have a positive relationship.  If needed, prepare your script in final form, printed in hard copy format or clearly written. Choose a block of time to practice each day for several days when you won’t be interrupted. For example driving to and/or from work.

Phase 2: Highlight Your Script
If you have several points you want to make, for example a listing of residents, familiarize yourself with the flow of your script; select “highlights” or words that carry its main message.  Read your script three times aloud to hear the overall flow.

Phase 3: Learn Your Lines
People tend to forget poorly learned scripts when they are stressed. To prevent this from spoiling your first script delivery, learn your script well.   Rehearse the script aloud until it comes easily and spontaneously.  Now recall your script aloud as you do a small easy task. Select a task that involves only hand movements that come automatically to you, like tying your shoes or dressing. You are training yourself to recall your script while handling minor distractions. Also practice answering diversions mentioned in this Manual.

Phase 4: Develop Friendly Supportive Professional Body Language
Observe yourself in a mirror as you deliver your script three successive times. Note the following:
Eye contact:  Not looking or “looking away” from the other person’s face. To eliminate this, select a spot on your face in the mirror to focus on.

Facial expression. Practice eliminating these, if you do them: Tensing and wrinkling your forehead.

Gestures and posture. Practice eliminating these behaviors: Scratching your head, or rubbing your eye or the back of your neck.  To eliminate these nervous gestures, try holding an object in each hand to decrease hand movements as you practice your script.

Phase 5: Speak With Self-Assurance
Your voice is your most effective instrument for expressing your words with self-assurance. People’s first impressions of you are often dominated by your voice quality. They may characterize your script delivery as “friendly” if your voice sounds warm and well mod­ulated, but think of other staff as “insincere and unfriendly” if their voice sounds flat and monotonous.

Consider tape recording your script. If you would rather talk to someone else, use your buddy or a mental picture of the staff member to whom you will be delivering your script. Then listen critically to your recorded voice, or discuss your delivery with your buddy. Does what you say really sound “aimed” toward your listener, or do you seem to be bottling it up, reciting a monologue that you’d be just as happy to keep to yourself?

Phase 6: Set The Stage
Don’t allow yourself to be propelled into delivering your script at an unplanned-for time or place. Specifically:
-Note when the person is most receptive. For instance, some staff members are in a better mood after eating than before.
- Plan a special time to talk. Say, for example, “I’d like to spend 15 minutes after… to…. Is that a good time for you?”

- Don’t be sidetracked.  Stop any potential escalation of emotions during talks that occur before you are ready to proceed. Say, for example, “Let’s not get into… talk now. I’ve done some thinking about that subject and would like to discuss it… when we both have some time. How about 10 o’clock?”

Now, keeping in mind the importance of setting the stage, answer these questions:

1. Who is your script directed to?

2. When is the staff member’s most agreeable time?

3. Can you make this a convenient time for you?

4. In what setting is the other staff member most likely to listen to you?

5. What can you do to encourage his or her listening and agreeableness?

Phase 7: Look The Part
As you undoubtedly know, the way you dress can strongly influence the impressions that others have of you. And when you deliver your script, you don’t want to wear clothes that alienate your listener.  Ask yourself, “Which outfit do you think makes me look most intelligent, attractive, and in charge of myself?”

Professional Clothing That Encourages my Self-Confidence

Opinions for:    

Your best colors

Your worst color

Your most confident outfit

Staff Member 1

 

 

 

Staff Member 2

 

 

 

Yourself
Put yourself through some dress rehearsals — wear the clothes that you feel most confident in while practicing your script, and become accustomed to the feel of those clothes as you say your lines. Rehearsing in your confidence building clothes will allow you to check them for comfort and for tell-tale missing buttons, gravy stains, rips, and wrinkles. Even more important, by looking confident you will probably begin to feel more self-assured.

So now, relax, and when you are ready, present your script to the other staff member with confidence. You are out to solve a problem, not to win a battle or to lay blame. Make the encounter a humanizing, not a dehumanizing, experience. If you do this you will be using your support building skills to promote a new style of life, that can extend beyond your facility; and to open up new areas for personal growth and fulfillment for yourself and others.

Selected Readings and Bibliography

-Alberti, Robert & Michael Emmons, Your Perfect Right: A Guide to Assertive Living, Impact Publishers: San Luis Obispo, 1986.
-Bower, Sharon & Gordon, Asserting Yourself: A Practical Guide for Positive Change, Da Capo Press: Stanford, 1991.
- Braiker PhD, Harriet; Who’s Pulling Your Strings?; McGraw-Hill: New York; 2004
- Charlesworth PhD, Edward and Ronald Nathan PhD; Stress Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Wellness; Ballantine Books: New York; 2004
- Dwyer, Wayne; Your Erroneous Zones; Funk & Wagnalls: New York; 1976
- Gordon PhD, Thomas; Leader Effectiveness Training: The No-Lose Way to Release the Productive Potential of People; Bantam Books: New York; 1980
-McKay, Ph.D, Matthew, Peter Rogers, Ph.D., and Judith McKay, R.N., When Anger Hurts.  MFJ Books, New York, NY, 1989. 
-Myers, Wayne, New Techniques in the Psychotherapy of Older Patients, American Psychiatric Press: Washington DC, 1991.
- Savage PhD, Elayne; Don’t Take it Personally!  Transform Rejection into Self-Acceptance; Barnes & Noble Books: New York; 1997
-Wells, Theodora, Keeping Your Cool Under Fire: Communicating Non-Defensively, McGraw-Hill Book Company: New York, 1980.

Concluding Commentary
Activity Director and Staff:

I hope at this point in time your head is spinning, filled with scripts for gaining Culture Change compliance as well as support in other areas.  In the introductory Commentary, I indicated that you needed to put aside your wish for a magical solution to your staff support challenges.  Secondly I indicated you would receive effective, specific practical techniques for gaining staff support.  However, last of all I stated that even though these ideas are simple, they may not be easy for you.

Now that you have read the Manual and perhaps listened to the CDs, what kind of choice will you decide to make regarding this material?   Reading the material and listening to the CDs will be a waste of your time and your or the facility’s money if you don’t have the courage to take action regarding the ideas presented.  Yes, I think the word “courage” is not too strong of a word to use.  It takes courage to break out of old communication patterns with another staff member you have known for months or even years. 

You know deep inside that Culture Change is the way facilities “should” be functioning.  But it’s up to you to get the ball rolling.  It’s up to you to have the courage and motivation to figure out how to request these changes in a tactful, professional, friendly manner that encourages department head and staff support. 

This Manual can tell you the word to say.  But it cannot give you the intuitive feel for when is the best time to say them, what is the best pacing for unfolding this information, and so on.  Who is the best staff member to speak to regarding a particular issue? 

Will you fail sometimes?  Sure you will.  The only way to succeed is to fail.  However, judge yourself not by your failures, but
1. by the times you have reevaluated your approach,
2. perhaps sought advice from another,
3. and tried again to gain the support you are requesting. 

Reevaluating and trying again takes true courage.  That is my wish for you.  I wish you the courage to not only try these ideas, but to retry, reshape, and redesign them to fit your personality, and that of the other staff member from whom you are seeking support.  The only magic answer for gaining staff support is the magic that comes from the courage it takes to change the existing communication pattern you have with the staff member from whom you are seeking support.

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