Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

How to speak to get others to listen

Posted on: June 24, 2011

The ability to connect with your listener and to communicate clearly, concisely and confidently is consistently ranked the number one key to success by leaders throughout business, politics and the professions.

 No matter how sound your reasoning, how compelling your arguments, or how logical your conclusions, if you fail to persuade, motivate, and convince your listener your efforts will be in vain. 

And how can you convince your audience – be it an audience of one or one thousand? 

By connecting at an emotional level.

In order to connect successfully with other people your voice must be free, compelling, and authentic.

Add Vocal Variety

Depending on the tone of your voice, you can either instantly engage your listener or turn them off entirely.  Aim for a voice that has a range of tones.  No matter how interesting the information, if your tone is monotonous your listener will tune you out. 

Observe Your Listener

There are numerous traps people can unintentionally fall into when speaking.  Some people speak too loudly in an effort to make others listen.   Others are surprised to learn that they come across as aggressive when making their point.  And there are those who mumble, letting the ends of their sentences trail off, forcing the listener to strain to understand what they’re saying.  When you speak, observe your listener to determine how you’re being received.

 Release Tension

If you’re holding tension anywhere in your body, it will constrict your voice.  A tight voice sends out negative messages, regardless of how you’re actually feeling.  If you’re concerned about what you have to say, yawn before speaking.  Yawning opens your throat, frees your voice and eliminates tense sounds.

 Connect with Your Content

If you fail to make an emotional connection with the words you speak you can’t expect your listener to connect with them either.  Make a list of powerful words – for example, love, hate, beautiful, everything, nothing, always – and practice saying them with energy and meaning. When you feel a connection to the words you speak, your audience will feel compelled to listen to what you have to say.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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3 Responses to "How to speak to get others to listen"

Thanks for the words of wisdom, Elizabeth. I particularly like your advice on vaiming for variety. This week I was subject to listening to someone who was passionate, yet fixed in that loud, tell mode of presenting. More listening to the group and softening would have appealed to me.

All good wishes Kate

Oh, boy, Kate. Do I know what you mean. In my new book, Persuasion & Influence For Dummies (coming out this autumn) I tell the story of two trainers. One came bounding into the room like a litter of St Bernard puppies – full of energy, paying no attention to the state of the people in the room. The other entered the room, observed the participants and matched her state to meet theirs. I remember none of the content from the first experience, and I continue to attend courses run by the other trainer, Judy Apps (whose work, and book – The Persuasive Voice – I HIGHLY recommend). Match the state of your listeners, add variety and observe your listener’s interest rise.

Any further suggestions and insights are greatly appreciated. (For those of you who don’t know Kate, she’s an excellent coach, trainer and facilitator and is the author of several books including the outstanding Live Life Love Work and NLP for Dummies)

Thanks for the words of wisdom, Elizabeth. I particularly like your advice on aiming for variety. This week I was subject to listening to someone who was passionate, yet fixed in that loud, tell mode of presenting. More listening to the group and softening would have appealed to me.

All good wishes Kate

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