Tonight I tried to listen to a podcast on a topic I care about and closed it out after 10 minutes. I’m not sure how I tolerated it that long. Why?
Here are 5 ways to lose an audience:
- Assume your listeners are stupid. Your verbal mannerisms, language choices, sighs, all these convey impatience. We listeners can almost see you pat yourself on the back for being so patient. Get over yourself. Your audience is giving you immense respect by giving their time to hear what you have to say. Respect them back.
- Right? Right? Interject a rhetorical Right? every few words. Your listeners cannot respond to your question; all it does is make you think you made your point. This is a little like the dentist asking you questions about your holiday while he’s deep inside your mouth, except 10 times worse. See #1 for why you need to break this habit.
- Bringing along he and I, or doing with him and I, or with he and I, or any of the variations on this theme. Good grammar isn’t hard and it helps your audience. Learn the basics and use them. (No, I’m not looking for rigor here. We don’t talk the same as we write, and split infinitives, mixing who and whom, small things like this don’t bother most people.)
- I bet it is, like, really hard to not slip the word “like” in every sentence. Go cold turkey on Like. Try it. If you like something you enjoy/prefer/appreciate it. If something is like another thing, then it is similar to it. Take a challenge and avoid the word for a full day.
- Use profanity, vulgarity, blasphemy. This includes abbreviations, the Lord’s name, sexual verbs and nouns, excrement and similar.
Use proper speech to demonstrate respect for your audience and show you appreciate them taking the time to listen to you.