Everyday English for Construction and Engineering 2
Everyday English for Construction and Engineering 2

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Everyday English for Construction and Engineering 2

4.5 Are they listening?

Described image
Figure 15 Is your audience 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
  • fidgeting
  • yawning
  • 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

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

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.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: track_3.mp3
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I’m Dan Short, your MP. Delighted to be speaking to you today. My wife apologises that she couldn’t be here with me but she isn’t well and is at home. I’m sure you have all read the news about the arrival of a new addition to our family. I expect that you have also read of the plans to build a new out-of-town shopping centre. This will attract all the big-named stores to the area. ‘About time too’, I can hear some of you say. It is something this town has needed for a very long time. We’ve been doing some very new thinking about transport to the centre. All the details will be given at a public meeting to be held at the Town Hall next Tuesday.
(Cough). I would like to welcome you to the school this evening; and thank you for turning out in such bad weather. I saw a nasty accident on my drive in this morning which was most unfortunate. The delivery van also had trouble in the school drive. Let us hope our return journeys will be easier. I expect you have read in the papers and heard on the radio and television for some time now the debate about making changes to the school year. We have held a number of meetings within school to discuss the matter. The issues are very complex and affect all aspects of school life (cough). There are lots of things to think about. We have produced a fact sheet with all the details to help parents to know more about what is involved.
This is a very mixed-up kind of a day for me today. I am both happy and sad. You’ve been a great class and I’ve enjoyed working with you all for the last three years. We’ve shared many events, such as Tina’s wedding and Claire’s new baby. Now it’s time for me to try something different. I am going to start my own business working as a personal trainer and coach for people who want to keep fit and healthy. Sadly, that means next week will be our last class together. I don’t know if another instructor has been appointed so you may have to keep an eye on the notice board to find out what will be happening.
End transcript
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Here are some questions you may have asked listeners. Your ideas may be slightly different.

  • A.‘Is everyone clear about when and where the council meeting will be?’
  • 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?’

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