Insights: How Do I Understand What My Listeners Want…



from Sandra Ashe, Principle Faculty at Speakeasy

Understand What My Listeners Want

When helping business executives communicate with their best foot forward we often hear that they want to better “read” their listeners, understand what they think and feel and know if their remarks are hitting the mark.  The very question comes with some underlying belief that there is some secret formula to understanding this and that if they could just get it, they would look and feel more confident, as well as be assured of the success of their meeting or presentation.

Invariably these are executives who often approach communication as a task in which a body of information is crammed into their brain to be released in the precise order and words that are memorized or read from the PowerPoint presentation.

What a revelation to realize that the very information they most need to convey has been available to them all along.  It comes slowly at first but eventually dawns on them that if they can just let go of “the words,” trust their many years of experience and allow their thinking to operate freely along a planned, designated route, they can both express their expertise while at the same time make real and genuine connections with listeners. That is when they get the very kind of connection that gives them the listener feedback they are seeking.

To reach this state of being in tune with listeners sounds easy but often is harder to achieve. It is built on the idea of “trust.”  Trust that your years of experience will provide the information you need when you need it. Trust that your brain will engage in gear and formulate cogent sentences. And, trust that if you take more time while relaxing your body, you will be able to take in the feedback (communication) that your listener is sending you through his/her reactions.

This change in communication style is at the very heart of what makes someone appear more executive, more authoritative and in command. Anyone can memorize and regurgitate facts. True experts can speak from their inner knowledge and experience while “reading” the reaction of their listeners.