4.5 Are they listening?
When you are asked to speak in public, you should always remember your listeners. It is easy to concentrate so much on what you are saying that you forget about the people listening.
Have you ever noticed someone not listening to you? Did they do any of the following:
- looking around the room
- gazing out of the window
- doodling on a piece of paper
- not looking directly at you?
If someone behaves like this when you are speaking, it may mean they are no longer listening to you. They may have stopped listening because they did not understand what you were saying or because you haven’t kept their interest.
To avoid this, you should check their understanding as you are speaking. You can do this with questions like these:
- ‘Does what I have said make sense?’
‘I would be interested to hear how you see it.’
- ‘Does anyone have any questions?’
- ‘Does anyone have any comments?’
- ‘I would very much like to hear what this will mean for you.’
- ‘Would anyone like me to go over any of the points?’
- ‘I would be very interested to hear how you feel about this.’
You should adapt the questions to suit the audience and the purpose of your talk.
Activity 19 Checking your listeners’ understanding
Listen to the audio below, which contains three different speaking situations. For each one, note down a question you might ask the listeners, to check their understanding of the topic.
Here are some questions you may have asked listeners. Your ideas may be slightly different.
- A.‘Can you remind me when the council meeting is?’
- B.‘What is your opinion on the changes to the new school year?’
- C.‘Will you continue to come to classes at this centre once I have left?’