30 Jun 2014

Want people to listen to you? Tips for effective speaking (Ted Talk)

Sometimes, well often, the best things are the simplest and most obvious. Yet despite the obvious simplicity of many things such as talking and listening, we get caught up in overcomplicating everything to the point where simplicity and common sense gets lost in pride and BS.

This post is about a brilliantly simple TED Talk by Julian Treasure titled 'How to speak so people want to listen'. Julian studies sound and advises businesses on how best to use it. Julian charismatically covers a couple of important topics that relate to speaking and listening, and their close relationship to yield effective communication and genuine listener attention. Although not necessarily an exhaustive list, the topics that Julian covers he argues if adhered to, will create a more positive environment where people will maximise the effectiveness of how they communicate.

The key topics raised in the talk are:

  • What not to talk about aka 'The 7 Deadly sins of Speaking'
  • Four foundation elements to effective speaking
  • The effective speakers toolkit
  • Summary that Powerful Speaking = Conscious Listening

Ted Talk - How to speak so that people will listen to you

Key Takeouts from this brilliant and simple talk

What not to talk about - The '7 Deadly sins of Speaking'

Julian suggests that we should consciously minimise the following in terms of the conversational topics that come out of our mouths. Be constantly negative, whinge, exaggerate, complain and lie, and it's of no surprise that you may not have peoples full attention! Simple stuff that makes a lot of sense, yet how many people come to mind when reading over some of these points....maybe you yourself come to mind on some of these points. The first step is be conscious of what you say and how what you say may be perceived by others. Nobody likes a constant negative whinger. 

Four foundation elements to effective speaking

Using the analogy of HAIL, which aside from meaning hard balls of ice that fall from the sky, means 'to greet or acclaim enthusiastically', Julian explains the key foundation elements that he believes everything we say should stem from. Again simple stuff that makes a lot of sense. 

The effective speakers toolkit

When delivering a talk, we have the following inbuilt 'tools' in our proverbial 'communication toolbox' to use in order to create depth, interest, intensity, and dynamics in the delivery of what we are communicating, which will maximise user attention. 

Like learning to play guitar, learning to surf, or learning a new language, communicating effectively is a skill in its self and takes time and effort to master. Understand, train and master these elements below and you will be a more effective communicator. 


The effects of  the 7 deadly sins of speaking on audience attention

The effects of powerful speaking

About the author
Si Muddell is a Digital Strategist who has worked extensively both agency and client side. Si is fascinated about marketing, psychology & what motivates people, and loves guitar, surfing and travelling.

Get connected with Si on TwitterLinkedIn &

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