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When You Become Quieter, You’ll Hear Much More

When You Become Quieter, You’ll Hear Much More

Now that we have more ways of connecting with others than ever before, our world has become noisier. With the rise of social media, everyone can have a voice and most people seem intent on letting the world know exactly what they think and feel, sometimes on a daily basis.

We live in a noisy world

We are bombarded with media generated by both big corporations and lone individuals. In some respects, the internet has been a major step forward in humanity’s development. We can talk to people in every country on almost any topic imaginable, at any hour of the day or night. Anyone can set up a blog, write articles, and contribute to internet forums.

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This presents great opportunities for learning about the world, and even forming new relationships with people we could never have encountered a couple of decades ago. On the other hand, we are at risk from information overload. As modern life becomes increasingly focused on self-expression, those of us who understand the importance of stillness and silence enjoy distinct advantages.

The power of silence

When you choose to live life at a lower volume, you and others around you start to benefit in unexpected ways. For a start, you feel much calmer when you take a slower, quieter view of life. You feel as though you have nothing to prove to those around you. You don’t feel compelled to let all your friends, family members and colleagues know every detail of your personal life. This relieves any pressure you might feel to conform to others’ standards or try to compete with them. Those who know how to be quiet are also more likely to find inspiration from unlikely sources.

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For example, taking a peaceful walk alone affords you priceless thinking space, which may help you gain more clarity when working through a difficult life problem. Quiet people who have the confidence to reflect before speaking are often perceived as more trustworthy and intelligent, as they give the impression that their thoughts are carefully formulated and not simply the result of knee-jerk reactions.

Listening more and talking less

To embrace the power of quiet means being willing to let others go first in expressing themselves and leading a conversation. When you take a step back and make a conscious decision to listen more than you talk, your whole perspective on relationships and the world in general starts to shift.

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You begin to realize that other people’s’ experiences can teach you a great deal, and that if you had kept the focus on you, you would have missed out on their valuable insights. Listening is a gesture of respect. In giving other people the chance to air their views, you are demonstrating that you hold them in high esteem and that they are worthy of time and attention. In our fast-paced and increasingly competitive world, this may be one of the most valuable gifts you can give. Many people feel stressed, under-appreciated and anxious about trying to live up to various standards imposed upon them by the media and by society at large.

When you offer them a space in which they can share what is on their minds and offer them psychological support, they may well feel respected for the first time in a long while. For this reason, those who know when to remain quiet often enjoy high-quality relationships. They feel secure enough in themselves that they don’t need to talk about their personal lives and opinions. They can allow other people the space to be themselves, and accept that everyone has their own stories to tell.

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More by this author

Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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