The better your listening skills the better you will be at public speaking. It is no secret that the best speakers spend time listening to great speakers making great speeches.
“It is good even for old men to learn wisdom.”
No matter what level your speaking ability is at it, learning from experienced speakers will definitely help you improve. There is no speaker alive who has nothing to learn from others. It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from attending speaking competitions. It is not only me, I see the most experienced and efficient speakers constantly learning speaking skills after hearing their competitors speak.
What Is It About Using Our Listening Skills That Makes Us Better Speakers?
The answer is simple, there is no such thing as knowing it all. We are all learners in life and public speaking is no exception. It is probably what attracts me to public speaking; no matter what you learn there is more to learn. There lies the continual personal challenge. Giving speeches allows you to share your ideas, stories, thoughts and knowledge, but you know it can always be done better.
How does developing your listening skills to help you become a better speaker? The answer is easy, because by listening to better speakers you learn what makes an effective speaker. An effective speaker is somebody who shares an idea in such a way as to convince the audience, this idea matters.
When listening to a speech I have three questions I always want the speaker to answer. When I see how they answer these questions I usually learn something new about giving an effective speech.
1) What Did They Say?
The most important message I want to hear is what was the point of their speech. What exactly are they talking about? I want to know what is their message. Was it clear to everyone in the audience what their message was? Next time you are listening to a speech ask yourself was their message clear to you. If it was not clear why was that? If it was clear what was it about the speech that made it clear to you and was this a device you could use in your public speaking. Pay particular attention to the structure of their speech and how they use this to enhance the delivery of the main point.
2) How They Say It?
The message is critical in public speaking, the way we deliver it, often impacts on how an audience react to it. The best speakers choose their language, style, and body language and pace carefully. They do this to enhance the effectiveness of the delivery. Listen to good speakers and see how they use these skills to enhance their storytelling.
3) Why They Say It?
This is often the most important skill of a great speaker, they know what they want to say and why they need to say it. What is the point of the speech? The more speakers you listen to, the more you will appreciate this skill. Understanding the need to have a clear point to make when speaking is a critical skill you need to acquire. The best speakers make a clear point and every element of their speech contributes to making this point.
Putting It Into Practice
“Know or listen to those who know.”
Use your listening skills to learn how to speak better. Focusing at all times on what you are trying to say. Why should it matter to your audience? Every part of the speech from the structure to your body language should be reinforcing the message you are trying to deliver. The best speakers leave their audience inspired by what they have just heard.