Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Listen up, speakers, about how to listen--a key #publicspeaking skill

When this speaker thanks you for listening at the end of his TED talk, he really means it. Sound expert Julian Treasure says we spend 60 percent of our communication time listening--but "we're not very good at it."

This is not only an excellent TED talk, but a useful tutorial for any public speaker or presenter. You'll get a thoughtful look at how you listen (or don't) and how your audience listens (or doesn't), as well as thoughtful ways to ensure that changes. Listening is critical to understanding, so if your presentation goal is to gain your listeners' understanding, listen to this.

Treasure gives you five tools to recalibrate your listening, ranging from 3 minutes a day of quiet to how to savor the mundane sounds of your day, so you can hear and appreciate them better--he calls those sounds "the hidden choir." Add his five steps to your public speaking practice!

UPDATE: District 29 Toastmasters blog offers another use for this skill and the video: If you're an evaluator in Toastmasters, use it to sharpen the skills you use to listen to the speakers you're evaluating.

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