Communication is a two way process. However, if you start with focusing on your listening skills you will have a much better understanding of what people actually say to you.  To understand your audience as a public speaker you need to focus on what they are after, are they with you on your speaking journey, do they understand your message?

People do not listen very well.  They are more concerned with what they are going to say as soon as they can get a word in edgeways, than actually giving attention and interest to what is being received.  Often we interchange the words “HEARING’ and ‘LISTENING’ as if they meant the same thing, but of course they don’t.

HEARING is the act of receiving the sound through the ear. We can often hear things without being really conscious of it.  The early morning bird chorus can be heard, but to identify one bird song we need to actively listen.

LISTENING involves a conscious effort to understand what is being said.  Listening means that we try to make sense of what we have heard.   Active listening requires concentration not for the sound but for the meaning.  Become a listener and concentrate on what is being said without judgement or bias.

And if you don’t understand something take the time to clarify it.  A simple question such as “I am not sure I understand what you meant, can you explain it again to me?” will allow the speaker to rephrase it. 

When you have listened, you are in a better position to undertake clear communication yourself.

For those who watch MasterChef you will see many instances where active listening would have saved the participants from errors that in some cases led to elimination. You need to listen carefully to instructions. This is very important in the team challenges. Don’t make assumptions – clarify if required.

Listening plays a vital part in customer/client service and dealing with difficult clients. Listen for the facts not the emotion. Listen to what the client is saying beneath the emotion.  Be objective and be aware that, in the main the client is annoyed at the situation, not with you personally. Unless you have erred in which case acknowledge the error fix it and move on.  If you can be objective and not let your emotions become engaged then you will find it easier to deal with an emotional client.

In many cases just listening and acknowledging the issues will defuse most difficult clients.  Validating a client’s issues will often be enough.

For those on the speaking journey who are hoping to or are actively engaged in getting speaking gigs, listening is an important skill to cultivate. Listen carefully to what the event organisers are saying; especially when it comes to participant information, what they would like you to speak on and the amount of time they want you to speak for.

How well are you listening?

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Trish Springsteen

Creative Business Consultant

Australia’s Leading Expert in Empowering Introverts

Multi International Award Winner Mentor, Speaker, Coach

International Best Selling Author

Host Get Known Be Seen WebTV

I Believe in You until You Believe in Yourself

Clients work with Trish because they know she can help them have the confidence and self-belief to make speaking easy. Trish typically works with business owners, introverts, authors and advocates helping them to have the confidence to step up Get Known Be Seen. Stand out and make it easy for your clients to find you.

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