This year I’ve passionately tried to observe as many speakers as I can, noting what works and what doesn’t for each. I’m constantly trying to cull this down into what works for me, just as ever speaker should tailor their strengths and abilities to their message. As we bring in the New Year, it’s a great time to evaluate and make commitment for change.Bert Decker annually announces his list for the top communicators each year, and this year (check it out) he adds the worst as well. While I haven’t (yet) seen all the people he mentions, I’ve found that YouTube and other web media outlets make it easy and enlightening to observe others in their craft. Frequently I disagree mightily with a person’s point, but am so enthralled with how they make it that I take away a great gain even when facing a view that will never win me over. It is with this critical eye that we should all evaluate the communications around us.Here’s your homework: Surf the web and find video snippets for at least 5 of the best and 5 of the worst off Bert’s list. Take note of what spoke to you, distracted you, what you remembered, and what you will try hard to forget. How would you have done it differently and why? Then internalize those thoughts into your own course of action for 2007.I am more than ever convinced that we need to constantly evaluate our communication abilities and strive to get better. It doesn’t just happen.

Make 2007 the year you make a quantum leap forward in your communication skills, and start by observing others.