It’s my experience that many people have no clue when they’ve “lost the room.” That means they continue talking but don’t notice that no one is listening.
Successful comedians and successful teachers have developed their sensory acuity to the point that they immediately can tell when they’ve gone off course, and that sensation leads them back to a workable path.
Some people will throw up on you if you let them. That means that their only purpose is to say what they want without any idea that their spewings are alienating you. You’ve got to interrupt them or you’re in for a long, smelly encounter.
Like most flaws, it’s easier to spot them in others than it is to notice them in yourself. The exercise is to start noticing how you’re being received.
We can all imagine the guy at work in the break room telling an off-color joke to someone, not noticing that there are others within earshot who may be offended. But can we begin to notice that lack of sensory acuity in ourselves?
The key is to pay attention while you are speaking. Start noticing others’ reactions in real time. Also, pay attention when someone is speaking to you rather than going inside your head and planning what you are going to say next. That practice is at the top of the list of communication killers.
There is a very successful self-help author who is the worst “professional” public speaker I have ever encountered. He is intent on getting out his message but isn’t getting the message that half the room has disengaged. That’s lack of sensory acuity. Good thing he writes well.
His attention was completely on himself. It never came out to see what others were up to. I’m genuinely surprised he didn’t trip on his way to the podium.
Just giving a bit more attention on how you’re being received will give your message a greater chance of getting through and not have people mentally check out on you.
All the best,
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