Monday, August 12, 2013

Why Should I Listen To You?

Maintaining rapport with our audience requires that we create an ongoing atmosphere of trust within which we can effectively communicate. They need to sense that we are someone with whom they can do business, an individual whose words they can trust. One of the main ways we do this is by demonstrating that we understand them.

The manner in which you choose to speak—respectfully, graciously, authoritatively, inquisitively, softly, loudly, quickly, slowly, deliberately, formally, informally, etc.—will go a long way toward creating the desired atmosphere. The key, of course, is to choose the most appropriate tone in each context.

How you dress will speak volumes to those around you. Question: Do you know what your attire is communicating? How do you know?

Your demeanor tells people how you regard them and yourself. Are you confident without being brash? Gracious yet not ingratiating? Does your audience see/feel/hear that you respect them? This is huge for any communication strategy. If I don’t sense that you respect me as a person, if I believe that you are seeking to play God with my conscience, if I think that your kindness is a ploy rather than a genuine care for my best, it doesn’t matter what you say: I am not going to listen.

Do you have a command of your subject manner? Are you able to demonstrate a high degree of competency? Do you know the strengths and potential weaknesses of your arguments? Do you know what ideas, emotions, or products, are competing for space in your audience’s minds and hearts?

Whether you are communicating with a client, family member, or a loved one, the process requires ongoing demonstrations that you get where your audience's heads and hearts are. If they don’t feel that you have an appropriate understanding of their needs, desires, values, beliefs, fears and such, whatever it is you have to say will be inconsequential.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2009

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