As a communication major, society assumes I talk a lot (and they’re right). Get a bunch of COMM/Journalism/English majors together and we will talk for hours – stop by a PRSSA board meeting and you’ll understand. We have a lot to say and we want to be heard instantly. However, the more you talk the less people will listen. If you have something to say all the time, people will stop tuning in unless it pertains directly to them.
How do you make sure your audience is always listening when you are speaking?
1. Listen more – This seems pretty basic. Step back and listen to what everyone is saying, half of the time someone else will say what you were going to mention anyway. The more you listen to your audience/friends/family the more they feel heard.
2. Acknowledge – Before you respond or speak out about an issue, acknowledge that you heard what people are saying. People like to hear you repeat the question or issue back to them.
3. Pause – When people are talking and you want to jump in and agree or dispute a claim, pause 3 seconds before cutting someone off. I will admit that I am an avid interrupter, but I am working on it! When you hear someone say something and you want to jump in, wait a few seconds – then say something along the lines of, “do you mind if I jump in real quick?”
These three steps will pay off largely in the end. Listen, acknowledge and pause before you speak – your non-COMM major friends will appreciate it, I promise.
Until next time…