Friday, March 11, 2016

Listener Awareness

by Carolyn Finch

Whether you are speaking to one or 1000, there is very little you might know about how the brains of your listener and audience members are functioning. When we are speaking to large audiences we know that we will not get through to everyone. Therefore we need to inject a lot of emotion for them to understand what we are really saying. That is why expression, change of voice, taking on an accent or using visuals and props helps the listener function better, We do know that men and women tend do think differently.Yes my friends it is true. They also hear and see differently..

Women tend to use communication from both sides of their brain and have more visual, verbal and emotional responses. Men tend to favor the left side of their brain and prefer numbers, facts, cerebral reasoning and they like to see movement. No matter whether male or female the brain could be damaged enough to know that there is catch up time needed when speaking from a platform. There is a distance in feet and yards and body noises and speech that are accompanied by gestures and body movement take a few delayed seconds to be seen.  When someone is close and the conversation tends to be one on one most of the communication is understood.

The picture above is one that is used in diagnosing a language disorder by a Speech Pathologist. In my Speech Pathology days I would use this to visibly see where there would be some brain damage and how there can be a weakness on one side of the brain. That is what we call left sided neglect, or a left side of the body weakness in perception. Many people in our audiences and network groups may have a weakness like this. Therefore when you are speaking in front of an audience whether a small group seated around a table or a large auditorium at a conference center, be aware of the left and right sides of your listeners bodies and the room.

Do your best to turn your body ever so slightly toward the group on the left and right when speaking from a platform and focus your attention with the one on one conversation by standing eye to eye and belly to belly. Pause to focus on listeners and this will also help you keep your own focus too.

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