How to be a Better Speaker (19 of 30)

Now this doesn’t pertain to public speaking, which most of us won’t be doing all that much, but rather how to be better heard in meetings, especially highly technical meetings where ego can get in the way.

TLDR: Listening

It’s that simple, everyone wants to be heard, and they are not listening to you if they don’t get a voice as well. I read this somewhere (lifehacker??) several years ago and have employed the technique in my day to day since then. I can tell you it works. My mentality used to be, I am not going to let someone go off on a 5 minute tangent under a faulty premise, because they are “wasting everyone’s time”, now I just let them go and don’t interrupt until appropriate. Just like life, you can only control yourself, you can’t change anyone else. So you can fight tooth and nail, or you can make an effort to let everyone express themselves and they will be receptive when you are speaking.

At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel like they are contributing and applying their finger print or ideas to the end product. I often hear people interrupting each other, 4 or 5 people deep (e.g. tom is speaking, then bob interrupts him, then sally interrupts bob, and so on,) all for the sake of brevity (to cut to the core, or chase,) and only extend the conversation further. In the case above, Tom is not going to feel fulfilled until he get’s his voice heard, you can lose track of what the initial point was, and you leave a room full of people, who never got their voice heard. If you were to let Tom finish, he might have already answered the next question, and if not, use an acceptable break to interrupt. I am certainly not saying interrupting in itself is not a bad thing, just need to be strategic about it.

Like the blog’s name sake, it will always depend, there are situations where someone is being too long-winded, or they are speaking to the wrong audience, etc.. but I’ve learned the best way to be heard has little to do with talking, but rather listening.

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