by Colle Davis
By learning to become a listener, you tailor what you say so that others will listen to you. This concept is not as complicated as it sounds. Be patient. You’ll understand it in two minutes.
Another way to say this is, ‘reading the room.’ The audience may be one person, and your presentation/pitch focuses on them or the whole space of people. What do they need to hear to help you get your outcome?
- Are they attentive? How do you know they are listening?
- Notice if and when they change focus, posture, or where they are looking.
- Ask questions to understand what they are absorbing and when to change tactics.
- Keep track of you as an observer and what input your audience is giving you.
Ask yourself these two questions before speaking because your delivery will be different for each group:
- What do you need to know about your audience when you are saying?
- Are you talking to one person, a small group, a large gathering, a social media platform, or the world?
You can tell the truth to people in many different ways depending on who is listening and what they can hear. The words are a small percentage of the message; your delivery, tonality, and reputation craft your intended message to the listener.
When I use the word listening, I’m referring to both parties. You have to listen or know the audience for them to hear what you are saying.
- Listen carefully to their biases (needs, wants, desires) to know what and how they need to hear the proposal to get your outcome. Including their desired outcome, framed in their words, at the same time works well also.
- Encapsulating their biases into your response means you are matching their view of the world.
- Ideally, they will hear what you say as if they are talking to themselves. Therefore, the more the message sounds like them, the more they will believe and embrace what you are saying.
- Using their biased words does not mean you agree with them. You are not buying into their opinions or beliefs. Instead, you are using their languaging, replicating the familiar sounds you have reworked to move the conversation to the desired outcome.
- Find something in what they say that you can make a positive statement that includes ‘I agree.’ Even if it is ‘I agree that we are talking about this now.’ Agreeing takes the pressure off because they assume you have the same biases they have and are listening carefully.
- With large audiences who are friendly, ‘we can all agree’ is an open invitation to be on their side. However, if you are unsure of the flavor, be careful with this phrase. Some people with firmly held beliefs on the opposite side will have difficulty hearing you after you use it.
- What are you expecting for the outcome of being in the situation? For example, is a sale expected or moving a project forward, opening up an opportunity for more significant interaction, or is this a friendly chat?
- Know what you want for an outcome before you start talking. Listen first, do your research, and find what is important to the person and how they process information. Then, start by asking questions so you can tailor the pitch to their needs.
Telling the truth is possible a half dozen different ways to different audiences and still be valid. Using their words makes your message and truth easier for them to digest.
Listen! For more tips and tricks about Power Listening, contact me, Colle Davis, email@example.com or 804-467-1536 (EST).