Executive Speaking Weblog

Communication – the future of business

How to tell if people are really listening to the boss

Posted by Presentation Skills on August 2, 2010

Want to know if people are engaged in what your Boss is saying at your next team meeting? You’ll notice this after a report has taken about 3-4 minutes to deliver.
When your boss/colleague/whoever has finished talking observe how others MOVE. Do they start moving at the same time, shifting their weight from side-to-side, moving their whole body as though they have just woken up? If they do, there is a good chance they have just woken up – or at least come out of a trance.
This happens when your voice becomes monotone. When it is monotone it becomes hypnotic. In the way that a good hypnotist will relax you into a trance with their voice, you can do the same to your team if you are not careful
You can avoid this by varying your voice in speed, volume, tone and even just pausing……………mid sentence. It does not matter how interesting your message is, if it is delivered without energy and enthusiasm it will disengage your team.
Now I know that this does not happen when you speak, but it will for others at your meeting

5 Responses to “How to tell if people are really listening to the boss”

  1. TJ Walker said

    You can also just ask them after the presentation is over what they remember. If they don’t remember anything, then they weren’t listening to the boss.

  2. Yes you can but that measures a second level symptom that could be attributed to almost anything else. It is also a voluntry response.

    Moving as though you have just woken up is a primary and usually involuntry response and much more accurate of the stimulus you have just encountered.



  3. You won’t know if they’re “Getting It!”, or not, unless you constantly monitor the reception of your message.
    Here are several ways to do this:
    Look at their Eyes
    If they are giving you eye contact, they’re paying attention and trying to understand what you are saying. This is a good sign. People need to be active, not passive, listeners.
    Check Facial Expressions
    Confusion, neutrality, boredom, or enlightenment will come across pretty clearly.
    Look at their Body Language
    Leaning forward indicates attentiveness
    Slouching is not being as interested
    Folded arms indicates defensiveness, but they are “Getting It!”
    Ask if they are “Getting It!”
    Several times throughout many of my presentations, I’ll ask the audience,
    “Does this make sense?
    After asking, pause, and look into the crowd to receive feedback. Even take a question or two to be sure the message is being received correctly.
    Sometimes things have to be repeated, and sometimes stated in different ways.
    People learn in different ways: audibly, visually, and kinesthetically. Have your presentation touch on all these learning styles.
    Have a specific time set aside to Answer Questions.

  4. […] Executive Speaking Blog came up with an interesting post recently: Can you tell whether people are really listening to the boss?  Sounds like a good game: Keep the score for audience reaction to the boss’ […]

  5. These are some good tips! Another thing for a boss to remember when presenting to avoid not being paid attention to is to make good use of visuals to keep the audience in tune with the presentation. For more tips visit http://www.top1percentclub.com

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