The Best Public Speakers Are Good Listeners

Do you want to be an excellent public speaker?

Then you must be a good listener as well as a powerful and articulate speaker. Not only before and after your presentation but during as well. You must be a human antenna attuned to your audience at every stage of your presentation from content development, while presenting, and post speaking.

Julian explains the elements of a good listener:

How can you put Julian’s insight into practice as a public speaker?

During the content development stage you must know your audience or you will be a lecturer not a public speaker. Know your audience intimately by brainstorming the nuances of the attendees who you want to persuade. Here is an audience analysis example that a marketing firm created so they could understand who their client’s customer is. They listened and understood how best to approach their clients because they now understand how to direct their message. Sit with a piece of paper and think about who your audience – there habits and beliefs – to understand which are the best pieces of your insight to share.

While presenting watch your audience – are they intent or are they looking restless? Are they responding to you with nods of agreement or are they engaged in their smartphones. When we listen our audience gives us clues as to whether to increase the volume or let us know if we need to change the direction of our content.

If you have the opportunity meet your audience attendees ask if there is something you can expand upon or if there is a concept they did not understand. Or send a survey post event and learn what resonated and what didn’t. Then listen sharply and take comments away for your next presentation.

Listening is easy but really listening, understanding, and then deploying is hard.

To your voice,


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Janice Tomich is the founder of Calculated Presentations, a company dedicated to bringing out speaker’s stories to influence change. Janice coaches professionals, entrepreneurs, TED and TEDx speakers. She is a champion for equal representation by a diverse pool of presenters for all speaking events. Follow Janice on Twitter @janicetomich, on Facebook, on LinkedIn and subscribe for newsletter updates.

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