If you are an excellent communicator, you have great value in this world. In a society with many distractions, like social media, the full effect of verbal communication often gets lost. The people who can talk so others will listen have a unique skill set about them. They know how to connect with certain people around them and verbalize words and phrases in a way that captures the attention of everybody.
In this article, we examine the various qualities and strategies that contribute to conveying a message effectively. When going through, do a self-audit and ask yourself which points you do well and not so well. When you approach your weekly activities, pick a couple of specific things to work on, and note your progress. Ask your friends and family about how they think you communicate and built off this.
18 Ways to Talk So People Will Listen
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
One of the most important things you can do is talk in terms of other people’s interests. If you communicate about topics and opinions that others have a stake in, you are more likely to gain their attention. Frequently, if you are looking to influence a group of people, you must approach the conversation with the mindset that it is about them, not you.
When giving a presentation or talking in a meeting for your professional career, know what your value proposition is. You should understand why your thoughts and opinions are unique and bring refreshing insight to the table. It all starts with understanding what others want to achieve and figuring out a way to help them become closer to their goals.
The unique insight could be a solution to a problem that has not been thought of before. When giving your opinion on a topic, it is best to ask thoughtful questions to figure out where the other person’s headspace is, what their current situation is, and what issues and obstacles they are facing from reaching their ideal destination. Then, you can frame your message more valuable in their eyes.
A Great Message Isn’t More. It’s Less
Some of the best public speakers in the world will tell you that a great speech usually does not mean more, but it means LESS. People often love the simple route and the most straightforward path of resistance. This concept applies to a presentation or a daily conversation. If you bombard others with loads of information, they will most likely feel overwhelmed and begin to tune you and your message out.
When you think before you speak, make sure to simplify your message. If your thoughts and words are more concise, it gives you a sense of clarity when communicating with others. People will remember more of what you say and be more moved when you keep it simple. Often, the CEO in a meeting speaks less. He or she listens thoughtfully, and gives his input when needed, which captures the attention.
People will look forward to speaking with you in the future and will be happy to include you in their social groups because you will not dominate the conversation. Quality over quantity is not just a cliché; a quality conversation leads to more substantial dialogue.
Use Emotion as an Influence Tool
Facts and data are an excellent method for supporting a point, but people are often influenced through emotion and feeling. When you talk, you can communicate your positive emotions through body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Positivity usually spreads to others through energy vibrations, so use this to your advantage.
It is also essential to gauge the state of mind of the other people in the group or one-on-one setting. You want to make sure that you are on the same wavelength as the others. If they are more mellow and reserved, you do not want to raise your voice or talk intensely. When the energy is high, be sure to match your voice, tone, and message with the emotional levels that are present.
The substance of the conversation gets correlated with the emotional connection of the people in the group. Keep this in mind when you speak, and when you listen.
Become a Great Storyteller
Movies will always be popular because of the intriguing storylines. Viewers identify with the characters, the problems they face, and they remain hopeful that the people in the movie will overcome obstacles. Someone who can command a room is always an excellent storyteller. He or she makes excellent use of dramatic pauses, body language, suspense, and ultimate delivery of the message.
So, what are the components of a good story? They all have these four things in common:
- Setting – this is the current situation, environment, and people involved
- Problem – there is often an obstacle that needs to be overcome or a problem that must be solved
- A hero or solution – the main character needs to utilize other resources or inner strength to reach the solve the problem and restore order or happiness
- After effects – you must describe what the world looks like after the problem gets solved
These parts of a story apply to either a conversation in an intimate setting or a business presentation. You will captive your audience by incorporating these items into your message with patience.
Dramatic Pauses are Your Friend
An overlooked aspect of public speaking is the pace at which you speak. Whenever we talk, we are trying to get our message as quickly as possible to the other person. This mistake can prevent your message from being clear and easy to understand. After a while, if you do not pause or slow down when you talk, people will begin to tune you out because they cannot organize their thoughts as the listener.
If you are communicating or emphasizing an essential point, try preceding it with a brief pause. This break in speech can be anywhere between two and five seconds. By stopping in the middle of your talk, it breaks the natural flow of your voice, which can be a good thing. The dramatic pause alerts your listeners that what you are about to say is essential.
Once you have the attention, make the next moment count because the weight of the message will be twice as much after the gap in silence.
Capture Your Audience within the First Eight Seconds
This strategy is geared more toward public speaking, but most people make a judgment about you in the first eight seconds of you talking. A common law of human nature states that in this small timeframe, your audience makes a firm decision on whether you are worth listening to or not. So, be mindful of your opening to your presentation. Keep it simple but significant and focus on essential information.
To capture the minds of the audience, you must be deliberate with your first strike. There are many different routes that you can go here. You can begin with an inspirational story that ties into your overall theme. You could use a rhetorical question to make it more personal and direct toward the audience. You could project into the future by describing in an ideal world, or you could reflect on the past.
The best speakers in the world write many different options for an opening and experiment with what works best. Take note of the audience’s reactions and reception to your message, and how engaged the audience is after that. The most important thing to note here is to make sure you focus on how the audience could benefit from what you are saying.
Practice the Way You Speak in Front of a Mirror
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says that before every big speech, he practices his message in front of the mirror seven different times. Whether you are speaking in front of a large group or practicing your social skills, a mirror is a great way to study yourself. When you can look at yourself, you can work on your nonverbal cues and the visual appearance that you exude when you interact with people.
You should work to become a student of yourself. Study your tendencies, your facial expressions, the way you move your hands when you talk, and your eyes. People with excellent emotional intelligence have a unique sense of self-awareness and are aware of the message they are sending to people apart from their words. It may sound nerdy or weird at first, but a mirror is a valuable tool for you.
Utilize Eye Contact While You Speak
Eye contact is crucial for you as you make genuine connections with people. When you are actively listening, looking at the person is essential in letting them know you care about their message. The same goes for when you are speaking. Your ability to make eye contact with people in a group while you talk enhances your bond with them. A skilled person can allocate their eye contact effectively to everyone.
You should not take it overboard and lock eyes for too long. It takes a special speaker to strike a balance between eye contact and looking away. In the show “Mad Men,” the main character Don Draper does an excellent job of utilizing eye contact to make a strong point. He will look down or away while he is talking and organizing his thoughts, then look eyes when he delivers the “punch” of the message.
When you look someone in the eyes when you are giving your opinion, it also emits a certain level of confidence about what you are saying. People who are continually looking away are communicating that they are somewhat insecure. Your eyes tell a lot about your belief in your message, so use this effectively.
Maintain Excellent Posture
Eye contact is a great way to communicate nonverbally with your words, but your posture and full body language are equally important. The most crucial thing to start with is making sure your stance is “open” to the other person or people that you are talking to. Emitting closed body language through crossed arms can communicate that you might be uncomfortable or disengaged from the conversation.
You can also exhibit an open body posture through your hand gestures. By showing open palms, you deliver a non-threatening message and invite others to contribute to the discussion. It is also essential not to remain rigid when you are standing and talking. It is okay to move around a little bit and get animated with your words. By staying engaged with your nonverbal cues, people will listen to your words.
Use Humor (But Not Too Much)
Humor is one of the best tools that you can use to get people to talk to you. There is a whole comedy industry that exists because people want to pay and see someone deliver a message built on jokes and funny stories and comments. Humor is the way you see the world, and it is up to you to find delight, joy, and witty observations of everyday life around you.
When using this in a conversation setting, find the joyful and hilarious happenings in the world that apply to everybody. We all experience life in different ways, but there are commonalities that you can find with other people about funny things they can relate to. You don’t always need to initiate the joke either but look for opportunities to add funny comments to what others are saying without offending.
A couple of things to be aware of about humor is not to overuse it or try too hard. Many people have the idea that being funny is something they must put extra effort into. It is merely a perspective of the world, and you can channel this by reflecting on past experiences. Also, find opportunities to involve other people in your humor by bringing them into the discussion or asking humorous questions to others.
Harness the Power of Other People’s Names
Dale Carnegie mentioned in his writings that a person views their name as the sweetest and extraordinary sound in any language in the world. Using someone else’s name in the conversation could also be your most powerful tool to get others to listen to you. When you attach the name of a person to your message, you double or triple the weight of its meaning. People will pay attention right away.
The name distinguishes a person apart from everyone else. They intend to respond or consume what you say with the name attached to it. Assuming it is quite simple, but the real battle comes in remembering someone’s name for the next time after meeting them for the first time. A helpful strategy is to write names and details about people on your phone. There is a notes application for a reason!
Apart from making your message relevant, using names also makes other persons feel good about themselves as well. Because you make people feel special, they will treat your message as unique.
Project Confidence in What You Say
Another essential strategy to get your message is to project confidence in your words. You gain people’s respect when you speak like you have done your research. In public speaking, it is a universal lesson that if you mess up on information, continue to portray confidence, and the audience will not notice. When giving your message to a group of people or one person, say it like you truly believe in it.
When you pair with confidence, it is crucial to not only give your honest and truthful opinion but to focus on speaking on topics that you are confident about. If you have done your research and know a lot about a specific topic, use your confidence to speak words people care about. If you are unsure about the issue, ask thoughtful questions to the person that knows more than you do about the given idea.
When giving a speech to a large group of people, mentally prepare and visualize how you will look and sound when you deliver the most critical parts of the statement. When sticking to your top themes and communicating them the audience, really channel your ability to carry it specially and sincerely.
Slowing down in your speech gives a similar effect to when you implement dramatic pauses. When talking, it is crucial to recognize that not everyone listens and comprehends at the same speed. Either way, others need time to organize their thoughts to listen effectively. You are more likely to gain the attention of others when you communicate your message briefly, concisely, and slowly.
When communicating your opinions and top points, take your time so that you enable yourself to place more of an importance on them. If you are talking too fast, you may be leaving out an essential part of the message, which takes away from your credibility. Speaking at a higher speed can also signal that you are nervous, and then others are less likely to listen to what you are saying.
If you want to add to the depth of what you are saying, do not hesitate to repeat a point right after saying it. This strategy allows you to make the message crucial and prevent yourself from skipping on to the next topic too quickly.
Avoid Filler Words or Phrases
Filler words are another weakness that can take away from your confidence and credibility. By adding unnecessary words to your message, it shows that you are slow to get to your critical point. These types of words and phrases are used as a stalling mechanism so that you can think harder about what you are trying to say, which shows that you are unsure. Be sure to avoid the following words and phrases:
- I am still working on this
- I mean
- Not going to lie
- This is just my opinion
Using these fillers also hinders your confident tone and takes away from it. By avoiding these words and being more direct and concise, you will capture people’s attention because they know you mean what you say. By eliminating this fluff, you can develop your brand in a way that people look forward to your message and conversations in the future.
An underrated aspect of gaining people’s attention is implementing gratitude into your interactions. There is a direct correlation between gratitude and confidence. Because you are thankful for the opportunity to interact with people, you will make the most out of the moment by speaking genuine and thoughtful words. When people understand that you are grateful for their presence, they will listen to you more.
Another aspect of this is who you choose to spend your time with. Create positive energy by surrounding yourself with people who make you happy, confident, and thoughtful. By enjoying time with great people, it creates a more valuable, genuine interaction where everybody appreciates each other’s ideas. You can be the leader by setting the tone with your gratitude and showing people that you value them.
One way to spawn gratitude is to ask questions that people enjoy answering. Because you give people a platform to talk, they will appreciate your presence and thoughts more when you say your words. It is a valuable cycle that you can tap into to increase your chance of being heard.
Channel Your Personal Brand: YOU Are the Message
Your brand is a vital part of who you are and how others view you. It is essential to remind yourself that you make up the message continually. When you speak to others, enable your authentic personality to shine through your words. By viewing your message through this lens, you can be yourself and remain true to who you are, no matter who you are speaking with.
When talking with others, it is crucial to approach the conversation to learn from others. But it is essential to share experiences about yourself that are funny, inspirational, and valuable to others around you. How are you making other people’s lives better through your brand? You should make sure to ask yourself what is unique about yourself and project that to other people through your words.
Your core values, or the things in life that are important to you, should also get incorporated into how you speak and carry yourself. When you talk with others, use this is an opportunity to improve your brand and what people say about you when you are not in the room.
Provide Unique Compliments
One of the best strategies to increase your influence is to make others feel important about themselves. Not only can you do this by asking meaningful questions, but also providing genuine, unique compliments toward others in the conversation. If someone had a great game, an exceptional day at work, gave an excellent presentation, or got promoted, recognize that and speak it into existence.
A lot of people get motivated through recognition, so channeling this through your words will increase the chance of people listening to you in the future. We live in a social media society where you know more about people than ever because they write about themselves online. Use this as a tool to gain information about people and use it in your next conversation with them to encourage meaningful dialogue.
Do not just give the surface level compliments that can be given to everybody. Make your comments personal and specific to that person, and your influence will go a long way. Take note of how people are improving in their professional and personal lives, and make sure they hear it from you too.
Use Power Words and Phrases
As opposed to using filler words, make sure to focus on using words and phrases that are backed by power and action. It is essential to be descriptive in your speech, but it is also crucial to connect your ideas with words that snap people’s attention to you. just like using someone’s name in your message, using these buzzwords will add value to your message. In your next interaction, focus on using the following terms:
When you prepare for your next speech or conversation, you can also incorporate this concept into your writing or journaling. Try to think of new words and phrases that you can use and practice saying them.
Conclusion: Provide Value and Be Yourself
As you can see, there are many ways that you can get people’s attention through your words. The power of your speech is directly connected to increasing your influence. You can use these tools to get the job you want, bring people to your side when trying to convince them, and earn more wealth for yourself in the long run. Do not try to tackle everything at once, however, and focus on the baby steps.
The most important thing to remember though all these tips are to be yourself. Do not divert from your unique personality and experiences just to gain more friends and attention. You are a fantastic person, and the more you stay consistent with who you are in your interactions, the more people will like and trust you.