15 Ways to Talk so People Will Listen

We’ve all had leaders we wished would sit down and stop talking. Don’t be one.

15 ways to talk so people will listen:

  1. Decide if you care about great communication skills. Are you willing to kick yourself in the pants or do you prefer to blame the listening skills of others?
  2. Judge your message harshly. Do you have anything worth saying? Always add practical value.
  3. Realize that others don’t love the sound of your voice as much as you.
  4. Talk in short bursts. Adopt the general rule that you talk too long. (Introverts might need to adapt this rule.)
  5. Hit the highlights. No one cares about the backstory except you. Some detail adds color. Too much is a snoozer.
  6. Ask yourself, “What do they need to know?” not, “What do I need to say?”
  7. Ask experienced team members for guidance. “What do you need to know?”
  8. Begin with the conclusion. It’s irritating to try to figure out why someone is talking. Assume listeners have no idea why words are coming out of your mouth until you tell them.
  9. Add some inflection to your voice. Listen to a recording of yourself.
  10. Don’t subtly toot your own horn. 
  11. Evaluate the content and style of  successful communicators on your team.
    1. What are they talking about? Content.
    2. What does their face look like? Expressions.
    3. What do they do with their hands? Gestures.
    4. What does their voice sound like? Tone and inflection.
  12. After reading suggestion #11, go back to suggestion #1. Do you care enough to challenge yourself and adapt, or do you want to cower behind, “It’s just not me?”
  13. Be yourself. It’s ineffective to adopt new techniques and forget the reason you’re doing them.
  14. Seek feedback.
  15. Like the people you’re talking to.

How might leaders talk so people will listen?