How does your audience listen?

 Yesterday I found myself on a teleconference call for over an hour. I’m not really an auditory person, I’m more visual and so my mind kept wandering. This got me to thinking about our audience and whether they’re paying attention to what we’re saying.

If the person speaking on the teleconference call had used words that I could relate to, I would have found it easier to listen to the conversation.

How does your audience listen?

There are three main ways that people process information: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. We tend to lean to one style more than the others, eg highly visual or highly kinesthetic. When we’re listening to someone speak, if they use words that relate to the way we process information, we’re more likely to stay engaged with that speaker.

As speakers, we need to incorporate all of these styles in our presentations to ensure that we’re reaching everyone in our audience.

Visual People: They usually have to see something to understand what is being said. For visual people you need to incorporate details so they can see the whole picture. Words they like to hear include: look, see, watch, imagine, focus.

Examples: Picture this, Look it over, Take a peek, See for yourself.

Auditory People: They like to hear how something is done or achieved. They respond to the tone of your voice, words or music. Words they like to hear include: listen, hear, sounds, tune in.

Examples: Rings true, Hear me out, Clear as a bell, Falls on deaf ears.

Kinesthetic People: They learn and memorise by doing, they like to touch and feel. Words they like to hear include: feel, grasp, touch, solid.

Examples: Gut feeling, Keep in touch, Have a feeling, On the other hand.

Think about the vocabulary that you’re using in your presentations, do you have visual, auditory and kinesthetic words to keep your audience listening?

Keep speaking – Carrol

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