How to Speak so that People Want to Listen

Other | Wednesday 8th March 2017 | David

We've all been there. No matter how much knowledge we possess on a certain topic, no matter how fascinating or unusual the things we know about said topic happen to be, if we are never able to verbally articulate our thoughts in a way that people find interesting, no one listens.

In his Ted Talk, speaking specialist Julian Treasure breaks down how we should achieve this. Firstly, he makes a list of things we should avoid if we want people to be captivated by our conversations.

His seven deadly sins of speaking are gossip, judging, negativity, complaining, excuses, exaggeration, and dogmatism (equating facts with opinions). As he explains, as soon as you start using any of the above in a conversation, your negativity will automatically make your audience lose interest.

Instead, he offers four cornerstones of what we should strive for when we speak, and you might be surprised by their simplicity.

Forming the acronym 'Hail', his four cornerstones are honesty, authenticity, integrity, and love. He isn't talking about being 100% honest (you don't have to speak your mind if someone asks you if you like their new hairstyle) he's referring more to wishing people well.

He goes on to talk about how we project ourselves, referring to our voice as a toolbox that very few people open. In his words, projecting your voice from your chest to your throat will give your speech an air of authority that will automatically make people listen, because depth is usually associated with power (he states that politicians who talk from their chest are likely to win elections).

He also stresses the importance of regularly changing pitch instead of talking in a bland monotone, as doing so will turn people off.

Surprisingly for a speech specialist, Treasure also values silence, as it gives your audience time to digest what you said. And most importantly of all, Treasure ends his talk by stating that the most important aspect of being a good speaker is to also be a good listener, because people are not going to want to engage in a conversation with someone who doesn't give them a chance to speak to.

If you have a presentation coming up anytime soon, you might want to take onboard Treasure's advice!