Public Speaking is one of the most desired talents people wish for, and I agree, as a Public Speaker it is a talent I wished for and am glad I worked on it. I would like to take this article and see if we can’t turn the tables just a bit, and ask you to rate yourself as a Public Listener.
So what does a Public Listener mean? Well let me see if I can do a decent job of sharing my perspective on what I might see public listening as. With all the global travel that I have done over the years, the most being for business, I have had much time to listen. The main reason being I didn’t speak the local language.
Having spoken in over 18 countries, you get many opportunities to listen as your translator shares either your thoughts or, the thoughts of those wanting to talk with you. So a public listener is someone that listens with the intent to understand first. Think back to some recent conversations that you have had, and really think back to the interaction you had with the other person. What kind of conversation was it?
Was it one of 2 unique monologues that touched on a similar topic? Was it one topic that you learned more about, more than you knew when you started the conversation? Was it the typical conversation where each of you wanted to get out as much information as you could while you were together?
It’s human nature for people to want to feel good about themselves and one of the ways we do that is to show how much we know about a particular topic. Now we can know more about something, and we can tell the other person they don’t know as much about it. It’s the old saying, there are 2 ways to have the tallest building in town, build your building bigger, or tear everyone else’s down. Which one of these forms do you subscribe to?
So how do you become a great public listener? Start by speaking when someone directly asks you a question and answer when you are confident that you can give an answer that will bring them value! Sounds like a rude thing to do, not to talk, especially when others are talking or saying stuff to you. I didn’t say you can’t acknowledge and agree or make comments as a conversation is going on. I shared that it would be wise for you to limit your comments until someone asks you for them. If you support this kind of visual contact during the conversation you are bound to learn more than you could have ever imagined and you will be amazed at the solution you can provide when someone actually asks you for your thoughts.
Be a Public Listener.. It’s not easy, wait… did you hear that? Just kidding, it was the sound of silence, don’t be afraid of it.