How to Make People Listen to You

We all want to be listened to, whether it is in a conversation with a friend, a co-worker, a customer…and especially when we give a speech. But can you make people listen to you?

In this TED Talk, Julian Treasure covers what not to do (he calls it the Seven Deadly Sins of Speaking), foundations we can stand on if we want our speech to be powerful, as well as the way we say things, the way we use our voice.

Commit any of these seven sins and people won’t listen to you:

The seven deadly sins of speaking, according to Julian Treasure, and what he thinks of them.

  • Gossip
    “We know perfectly well the person gossiping will also be gossiping about us.”
  • Judging
    “It’s very hard to listen to somebody if you know that you’re being judged as well.”
  • Negativity
    “It’s hard to listen when somebody’s that negative about pretty much anything in life.”
  • Complaining
    “Complaining is viral misery. It’s not spreading sunshine and lightness in the world.”
  • Excuses
    “Some people have a blamethrower. They don’t take responsibility for their actions.”
  • Exaggeration
    “Exaggeration becomes lying, out and out lying.”
  • Dogmatism
    “Somebody is bombarding you with their opinions as if they were true.”

Four powerful cornerstones that WILL make people listen to you

  • Honesty
    Being true in what you say, being straight and clear.
  • Authenticity
    Just being yourself. Standing in your own truth.
  • Integrity
    Being your word, actually doing what you say. Being somebody people can trust.
  • Love
    Not romantic love, but I wishing people well.

Other take-aways from this great presentation

Julian Treasure reminds us that it is not only what we say, but also the way that we say something. He spends the rest of his speech talking about voice and how to improve its quality.

I really liked the exercises to warm up your voice and muscles in your mouth at the end of his talk. I consider this video well worth the ten minutes it takes to watch if you want to become a more effective communicator, a communicator people will listen to.

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2 Responses

  1. I really like Julian Treasure. That video was one of the first videos I saw when I began my journey into public speaking. Those exercises about warming up your voice has stayed with me for 20 years. Apart from anything else it stops you feeling pain and straining

    1. I agree, Catherine, those warm up exercises are great and work magic on one’s voice. Another trick I teach in my workshops is to practice some sentences with a wine cork between the front teeth. By doing so, you exercise muscles in your mouth and tongue in a similar way that a baseball player practices his arm muscles by swinging three or four bats before stepping up to the plate. It’s a trick stage actors use in practice and to get ready to perform.

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