I’m a good listener because I’m a speaker.
It’s funny the things you learn when you do a few public speeches like I do.
Your standing there on the stage trying to be entertaining, amusing and informative. There are 200 people in front of you.
Most feeling fairly relaxed in the warm room. Some are taking notes, some are looking around, some are sitting way back in their chairs examing something on the other side of the room, others seem to be paying attention.
And then you spot them and it’s like a wave of confidence washes over you.
The “them” I’m talking about is the listener (the person who really looks like they are listening).
I Was Soon the Centre Of Attention
On Wednesday night I went along to see my daughter Laura in her debating team. Because I know what it’s like to be the one up the front with their knees knocking, their heart in their mouth and that same mouth feeling very, very dry, I also knew how to be a great listener.
How To Be A Great Listener
And here’s how to be a great listener for the next speech you hear:
1. Lean forward
2. Have you head cocked to one side like you’re trying to catch everything the person says
3. Look the speaker in the eye
5. Occasionally smile
You would be amazed at how much confidence you are giving the speaker.
- I know I feel great if I see someone like that in the audience.
- I know how much confidence they give me.
I did those 5 things on Wednesday night when the 6 kids got up to speak (for most of them it was the first time they’d spoken in public).
Within about 20 seconds I was the centre of every kid’s focus when they got up to speak. I was the one they kept coming back to.
And it was because I looked like I was listening to interesting stuff. And that gave the speaker confidence.
“….I Knew What I Was Saying Must Have Been Okay.”
After the debate the family went out for dinner.
We were giving Laura some feedback when she said “I felt like I was doing really well because I saw Dad nodding. Then when you smiled at me Dad I knew what I was saying must have been okay.”
Confidence is such an important thing for kids just starting out at speaking, and even for someone a bit more experienced like me. Give it a try at the next speech you’re at and see what a positive impact you can have on the speaker.