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Listen! To Be a Better Speaker

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

Instead of talking right past people, first hear them out. Then address their concerns.

Nurse talking to patient
Speakers should always ask themselves, "What did my audience come to hear?"

Sometimes we're so anxious to tell our side of the story or issue, we forget to understand what will motivate and resonate with our audiences.

Listening is a key to speaking. Let me say that again...You have to know what your audience needs to hear in order to be an effective influencer. Then you have have to frame your pitch in a way that will make your audience receptive to your ideas.

You may know everything about the mating dance of the honey bee queen and her drones but if your audience came to hear about planting the right right garden to support a beehive, then you're talking to a garden party and not the beekeepers.

Ever wonder why a lecturer asks some open, leading questions before they get into the gist of their speech? Yes, they want to get the audience awake and involved before they get started. But what's more important - even though I may give the same basic speech, I'll also know the make-up of my attendees and I'll have narrowed down their specific concerns to a short list of two or three items.

Then, I can custom tailor my presentation. I can address and spend more time on the things that matter most and skim over the parts that are less of a concern to my class or breakout session.

Little techniques like listening and polling your audience can make a big difference in your effectiveness as a teacher, lecturer, or new business developer.

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