We often pride ourselves on our strong listening skills, yet we are guilty of demonstrating the complete opposite not only when listening to others, but when we want to be listened to!
Last week, we looked at how to be a better listener…but good listening works both ways; you must make sure that you are not only listening to others, but that people also want to listen to you.
How to make sure others want to listen to you:
- Know what you want to say. This may be easier if you ‘think to speak’ rather than ‘speak to think’, but take time to consider the main points you want to get across before you speak.
- One step at a time. Ensure your audience is more likely to understand you by making one point at a time. This is preferable to overwhelming them with too many ideas at once. This can also help to focus your own thoughts whilst speaking.
- Slow down! If we are anxious or excited, we often talk too quickly. It’s worth listening to a television newsreader and you will hear that they speak much more slowly than you do. Strive to emulate the professionals by adopting an effective rate of speaking. It’s a skill worth practicing.
- Fight the monotone. A monotone voice can convey to the listener that you are bored or too controlled. Again, this takes practice, but it is well worth the effort.
- Right place, right time. Think about the environment where you are talking and respect the subject matter. People speak more freely and openly when they are comfortable. Don’t have a potentially sensitive discussion with someone in a public setting.
- Repeat and confirm. From time to time, it can be worthwhile asking your listener to repeat what you have said to check their understanding. This avoids misunderstanding and differing perceptions that can lead to confusion and frustration down the line.
Thanks for listening!
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