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Oprah is an American show host, actress, media executive, television producer, and philanthropist. She became the host of The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986, which lasted for 25 years and gained huge popularity. From then she never looked back. In mid 90s she became CEO of Harpo Studios currently known as Harpo Production. She is the publisher of a magazine known as O: The Oprah Magazine. She introduced her network OWN (Oprah Winfrey’s Network) in 2008. She is the Queen of all media. Her communication skills are one that built her to this level from starting till now. Her talks, views, and thoughts are so influential that the term The Oprah Effect was coined.

Oprah has won many awards in various fields. In 2013, she was awarded with Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama and also doctorate degrees from Duke and Harvard. She was also part of Barak Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. She is the most influential speaker in the present day. Many of her followers want her to be the presidential candidate for the 2020 US elections.

Communication

Communication is a way or process to share or convey your thoughts and words. It is a process that creates a link between speaker and listener and vice versa. Communication can be of various types. The method of conveying a message can be by talking, writing, sign language, or gestures. Communication is done by all animals in different ways. As humans are more evolved to transfer their information or feelings, they use multiple types of communication.

Business Communication:

To grow and manage a business, effective communication skills are a major requirement of today’s era. In many colleges and universities Business Communication is being taught and learned for a better and more successful business environment. In the world of competition and betterment, the one with better communication skills has the advantage.

Following are the different types and forms of Business Communication:

    1. Collaboration
    2. Public Speaking
    3. Listening
    4. Nonverbal Communication
    5. Written Communication

1. Collaborative Communication:

It is a type of communication that is very important for every kind of group discussion and also for an organization. Collaboration involves the participation and listening of all the members. Their views are kept into consideration and discussed further for a better conclusion. Oprah Winfrey owns a production and magazine house, she always takes care of the people working and getting new ideas from co-workers. For the success of a business collaboration, everyone is important and nobody will be left behind. She introduces one-to-one meetings and discussions where an understanding of the environment and new innovative ideas are born. For better growth and success of an organization collaborative communication is one of the most important tools. This not only benefits the company but also the individuals to increase their skills. Everyone has different skills and abilities, by collaboration interrelated skilled people are grouped. This is a way to keep everyone satisfied and get your work done where everybody is happy. Oprah Winfrey did not cover the path of success alone but with the help of all employees of her organization. Usually, in many situations, people tend to make decisions based on emotions, which can alter and effects the results. But group discussion and taking care of every individual personally makes those emotions out and a better decision can be produced which can benefit everyone. Oprah Winfrey has this special ability to make connections with everyone.

2. Public Speaking:

Public speaking is the process of speaking or expressing in front of a gathering irrespective of the number of people present. It can be done on an open-stage platform or in an auditorium. Oprah Winfrey is one of the best public speakers in the world. Her speech at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards is considered one of the world’s best speeches delivered. Anxiety is the iggest barrier otothe public speaking. Any public speaker must have a few qualities to make him different from others and Winfrey is one of them. She can handle any number of public very well and smoothly, clearly express her views, and control the audience. Even many people asked her to stand for the Presidential candidate in the 2020 elections. Oprah started her show in 1986 and since then she never looked back, today she is considered and best orator, and the only thing she has gotten over these years is success and her name. The following characteristics are how Miss Winfrey is considered as best:

Storytelling: Oprah always introduces stories in her speeches to make them more exciting and grab the attention of the audience. She shares her own stories and also of others. This is a great way to build the interest of the audience and not get them bored as everyone knows, who does not like stories and if they are really exciting? Stories stimulate the mind and force people to create imagination to feel the stories and connect with them. It is an old way but always works and Oprah knows how to use it. A short, meaningful, and relevant story adds understanding to our message.

Make it personal and Keep it real: She always connects with people and explains her points so well. By taking an example from early life the audience emotionally connects with her. This makes the public thinkdeeplyp about it and feels it. This shows an insight to people who she is. This is the art of public speaking to ensure that everyone can feel what a person is saying. Some orators to do so tries to make false stories and non-happened acts, therefore being unable to connect themselves with others. It is important to keep all this real so that both the speaker as well as the audience can relate to and enjoy it. It is not a source of entertainment that the speaker has to act to impress, it is real and to the point. Oprah delivers so intense, actual, and with so much passion that no one can be left unaffected. Content must be clear and meaningful. If it is real the speaker doesn’t have to fake it and can naturally control the crowd.

Repeat it and use phrases: This is the way to use the slang, lines, sayings, or wordings of some famous personality, novels, journals, books, or anything. To make your speech and interaction exciting it helps people to understand and sparks up the situation. Using a line from their favorite novel or author makes people more willing to listen to what the speaker is saying. On the other side using specific words knocks people’s minds as the speaker tries to put pressure on them. For example: Oprah in her speech “For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up.” Here she tried to put impact on these lines. She always uses these types of words to repeat, when the audience leaves for their home they always remember these types of lines for a longer time. Also at that time it produces a different type of energy and makes them more active to listen to the speaker.

Clarity: It is the most important part as your message must be clear and powerful. After all a speaker tries to explain and express his ideas, if these are not clear and the speaker himself looks confused then how can the audience rely on him? Clarity shows that who the orator is and what he wants to explain and say. Oprah Winfrey during her interviews and show always be clear about the objective she is saying and that makes her different from others.

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3. Listening:

Communication is not limited to expressing, talking, delivering, or saying something to an individual or a group. Communication is also related to listening and understanding others who are speaking. Communication is a task between the listener and speaker. Listening is also as essential as speaking, as all knows a good listener is a good speaker. Oprah Winfrey being a great speaker is also a good listener. She allows the other to speak and listen quietly and respectfully. A good listener creates an environment where everyone feels comfortable to speak up and valued. Oprah pays attention to people of her show and other speakers as to what they are saying. Being a good listener Oprah tries to not interrupt the speaker before he completes the sentence or what he wants to say. Being a good listener a person has to maintain body language which shows that you are listening and not avoiding the other person. Expressions show a lot of things, if a listener appears judgmental then the speaker loses confidence and is unable to deliver his message. If the audience is not interested in listening it becomes hard for the speaker to speak. Miss Winfrey knows much more and makes connections with others; she makes others feel comfortable and speaks openly about their views. She acts like a friend, a neighbor, someone who wants to listen to you. These characteristics make her one of the best communicators both ways as a speaker and a listener.

4. Non-Verbal Communication:

Communication is not just limited to verbal components it also includes nonverbal components like expressions, body language, gestures, attitude, etc. Nonverbal messages lead to the expression of emotions. A person can lie but his gestures, body language and gestures cannot. Oprah Winfrey is very famous for her nonverbal communication skills. She includes the very best of her expressions and gestures in her speech and way of communication. These cues are ambiguous, continuous, and more reliable. A speaker with a poker face hardly connects with other people.

Nonverbal communication is majorly categorized into three areas:

I. Paralanguage:

This type of study focuses on how a person says what he says. It includes voice quality, volume, rate of speech, pitch, pronunciation, and rhythm. Oprah Winfrey impresses everyone with her way of speaking. She always is very clear and a rapid change of tone is seen while she speaks depending on what topic is seen. On some points raising her voice pitch while on another lowering it down. The speed of King is smooth so that she seems relaxed to the audience The rate of the speech is moderate neither too slow nor too fast which shows, that she knows what she talking about and is already prepared for it which is a good thing. Pronunciation is a very important part of paralanguage as it’s important that other people can understand what we are saying. When it feels like the moment is slowing down she raises her volume which is an element to get the attention of the listeners. Her rhythm is also quite smooth and low-pitched which shows that the person is confident and has knowledge about what she is discussing. Laughing, sighing, and crying while talking shows that the orator wants to deliver some meaning. Suddenly increasing or change in these characteristics shows that something is not right or the speaker wants special attention from the audience for a particular message. One more major point is how you deliver your words, do you stammer or be fluent? And nobody saw Miss Oprah Winfrey losing her continuity.

II. Kinesics:

Human beings cannot communicate without any expressions, body movements, eye movements, and gestures. Kinesics is a study that deals with it. It includes postures, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements.

Postures: Body posture tells a lot about the attitude and personality of a person. When a person walks in we start to make an image of that person in our mind before even communicating with him. Oprah Winfrey shows a bold and confident personality from her posture. While talking or listening she shows great interest in the communication. She always sits calmly with her arms relaxed which shows a she wants to say she is confident. If a person is in fear or aggressive the way he stands and sits changes accordingly. Insecure or nervous people try to look down, stand in a slouched posture, or are usually seen biting their nails. A feared or anxious person stands with trembling feet or hands. Oprah while delivering speeches or hosting shows seems quite confident standing straight with arms in front and head up. If someone wants to show their superiority they look straight to you standing quite strong or leaning over a table or something, just like a boss in an office. Not only this Oprah always seems relaxed and tries others to be as relaxed and comfortable with her. So that there is no hesitation and the person will be encouraged to talk freely and reply comfortably.

Gestures: Gestures are particular body movements, especially of the hand or head which indicate a specific message or idea. It is an important aspect of non-verbal communication as in daily life we use various types of gestures. Nodding head, Thumbs up, OK sign, waving hand, joining hands, and many more. In communication, it is important to use different types of gestures. Gestures show how appealing you are and it adds meaning to your emotions. Oprah Winfrey is known for her gestures. While speaking hand movements to explain her is the most common example. Also while listening joining hands and nodding head regularly. Different gestures have different meanings. Even the same gestures in different places or countries have the same meaning. Even sign language is based on gestures. Oprah while talking or listening uses her hands and head quite well which creates a positive impact on audiences as it looks like she is quite interested in the communication. Simple gestures like “Hello” and “Goodbye” by waving hands have meaning. Gestures are quite important, it’s hard to imagine a world without gestures and only words.

Facial Expressions: The face is the main site to express or show emotions. There are a lot of small muscles in the face that react differently in different situations or emotions. Facial expressions can easily reveal if a person is open to communicating or is not interested in talking or listening at all. Oprah Winfrey is people’s favorite for facial expressions. She can control a huge audience easily by providing facial expression that connects making everything feel real. As seen many times she implies this communication skill very well. Everyone has seen her being sad, crying over sad or emotional talk, laughing loudly, being properly serious on intense issues, and much more. This type of skill shows how you react to different situations and how deeply you feel it, other persons believe then they get more comfortable or open to communicate with that person. This grip on communication not only makes her a great speaker or listener but also a queen of communication. Because her expressions change every expression while communicating with them. Very few speakers have this much effectiveness in controlling their audience. In her shows and speeches, we have seen a lot of expression drifts, in the same speech being emotional with tears to shiny eyes of happiness and joy.

Eye: In facial expression, one thing that attracts the most effective features is the eyes. Eyes tell a story, everyone can agree with this term. Eye contact between listeners and speakers is very important. If listeners don’t have eye contact with the audience then it indicates that they are not interested in listening or they are not listening even at all. The speaker must make communication interesting and make eye contact with the audience. If there is a lack of eye contact from the speaker’s side, this indicates a lack of confidence or hiding something. Miss Winfrey being so confident and strong while hosting or speaking always makes eye contact with her guests and people watching her. Even with a large audience, it is quite difficult to focus and deliver your words, but Oprah has mastered this skill from starting now she refined her a lot. Not only contact but eyes also have a major impact while performing expressions. The size of the pupil’s eye changes accordingly while communicating depending on the topic or if someone is telling a lie. Looking somewhere else while talking shows an impression of ignorance and rudeness. Even after looking politely speaker has to take a little pause and then deliver their message.

5. Written Communication:

After all types of communication, one major mode of communication we use every day in daily life is written type. Written communication can be seen in every organization, office, school, and even in daily notices or information issued by the government. Every official statement of information issued is in written form. It is really important to learn this communication to interact with others. Oprah Winfrey built an empire of media and journalism which indicates how good she is in writing messages to her employees, partners, and even friends. She has admitted that her shows or speeches don’t come under a day, preparation starts a long before. This preparation starts in written form gathering information, managing data; assemble it in the form of a show or speech. Oprah is also quite active on social media so we have seen a demo of her writing skills. Being a CEO and having this much business it is tough to communicate individually with everyone; therefore, notices are issued and sent to all. Nowadays, E-mail works as an official platform for written communication. Oprah has her magazine, which is quite popular internationally. She deals with the best writers and share their views and advice on new things. Even at this age, her interest in learning new things is still present. Oprah has written many books, her first book was launched in 1996 and the latest was published in 2019. These books are quite influential. Her books show how specific she is in terms of her work and communication.

References

    1. Viswanathan, Rajeesh.Business Communication, Himalaya Publishing House, 2010.
    2. B. Adler, ed., The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey: A Portrait in Her Own Words (1997)
    3. Robert Gibson(2002), Intercultural Business Communication.
    4. Graham, G.H. , Unruh, J. , & Jennings, P. (1991). The Impact of Nonverbal Communication in Organizations: A Survey of Perceptions. The Journal of Business Communication, 28(1), 45-62.
    5. Byron, K., & Baldridge, D. (2007). E-Mail Recipients’ Impressions of Senders’ Likability: The Interactive Effect of Nonverbal Cues and Recipients’ Personality. The Journal of Business Communication, 44(2),137-160
    6. Raman M. and Singh P. (2006). Business Communication, (OUP: New Delhi, 206).
    7. Kumar, S. and Lata P. (2011). Communication Skills, (OUP: New Delhi, 263).
    8. Oswald, Brad (January 26, 2010). Yes, she’s the Queen of all Media, but to Discovery, she’s Life itself. Winnipeg Free Press.
    9. Nurfazrina,H. (2016). Verbal communication analysis in the Oprah Winfrey Show. Indonesian EFL Journal, 2(2),145-153.
    10. Molleda, J. (2010). Authenticity and the construct’s dimensions in public relations and communication research. Journal of Communication Management,14(3),223-236.

 

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