THE ART OF LISTENING FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS

The best motivational speakers know that communication is a dance for their message to be  effectively communicated across. It needs to be understood the first time. Motivational  speakers must learn how to achieve this kind of clarity through the process of listening, active listening, which consists of tuning in to the audience, acknowledging their presence, empathizing and responding appropriately to their feedback. It is an important skill for public speakers because good communication is a partnership between them and their audience. Great motivational speakers understand that this is the best skill to develop.

motivational speakerListening is a technique used to manage the audience. Establishing rapport plays an important role in this process. The message, even given in a concise and straightforward manner can be misunderstood simply because the speaker had not gained a connection with his audience. In turn, his responses are out of context, inappropriate and not relatable to the receiver. Through good listening strategies, the sender will be able to construct and refine the message.

Listening is an often neglected skill in communication. As a speaker, have you experienced times when the audience are not responding to your expectations? Or vice-versa? This happens when you are just talking at your audience rather than communicating to your audience. The speaker must match tone, humor, words and anecdotes to his audience. They will not pay attention to what you say if you do not. Listening can make your responses more deliberate.

The difference between hearing and listening is that the former is an involuntary and uncontrollable process. Listening is a conscious, voluntary action of making sense of what we hear, seeking an understanding and remembering the content of what we hear.

Often, the spontaneity of the talk will not allow a speaker to write a speech verbatim. Listening will help the speaker add flavor to the audience interaction.  This is the best kept secret of motivational speakers. The speaker can take out the noise when he communicates by following these simple steps:

Tuning in to what is being said

Discard the cue card and look at your audience! Focus your mind to what is being said despite certain distractions in the environment. Listening and talking complement one another because it shows that the communicator truly respects his audience. Ask questions, not only to show your interest, but to clarify information.

Empathize

Acknowledge the emotions or the situation of the person. See the information being shared from his point of view. Even without agreeing, try to understand their emotions or opinion  on the situation by voicing out that you do.

Don’t jump to conclusions

Keep an open mind and control your biases. Your task is to be a guide to the audience. Help them draw out solutions or endings by asking more questions that may lead to it.

Clarify

Get a clearer picture by making the person give examples. Follow-up with more questions but keep the exchange short. It also indicates your interest level and shows  your intent to be helpful.

Take notes

Writing down details will help you remember and stay on track. A written record will also help when you refer back to the subject at a later point in your talk. During your conversation, ensure that your notes are accurate by allowing the person to comment, clarify or add details.

Mind your body language

You are at the center of the room which makes your gestures, posture and eye contact seen by everyone. Nervous presenters make the audience nervous and appear not knowledgeable. The physical message is as important as the spoken one. Remain calm by doing breathing exercises. Your movements should be well-planned. Practice prior to your speaking engagement to synchronize movements across the stage with your intended message.

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Great motivational speakers understand that this is the best skill to develop. It is an important skill for public speakers because good communication is a partnership between them and their audience.

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