Whether or not you give presentations, you need people to listen to you.

And yes, this is almost universally true in nearly every profession. Doctors need patients to understand their diagnosis. Lawyers need clients to understand their legal rights. Accountants need clients to understand tax consequences. Managers need employees to understand how their work contributes to company growth.

The outcome of all these conversations, across all of these disciplines, depend on ensuring that people are listening.

It seems like such a simple thing, right? We listen to people every day.

But when you are presenting information to your audience, whether that’s one person in your closed office or 10,000 people in an open auditorium, you need people to actually LISTEN. Or else, the information you’re trying to get across will never be received, and communication falls flat.

Why People Stop Listening To You

Are you sure people are listening to you? We may think our audiences are paying attention. Or we may be so wrapped in what we are saying (or, ahem…staring at our Powerpoint screen) that we may not be receiving the feedback our audience is giving us (both verbally and non-verbally, the latter including looking off in the distance or to the side, checking phones, ETC.)

For that reason, it’s vital that we work to ensure our listeners keep listening.

Here are five reasons people stop listening.

  1. You are long winded, talk too much about yourself, or maybe too technical.
  2. You fail to get to the point or the point you make is not compelling.
  3. You talk in a monotone voice.
  4. You use way too many filler words like “uh” and “you know.”
  5. You look and sound nervous instead of poised and self-confident.

If you need people to take you seriously, remember what you say, and do what you want them to do, you need to talk in ways that will capture their attention and keep them listening.

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