What Speakers Say vs. What Listeners Hear

As a professional speech coach, my number one piece of advice for all speakers is: It’s about the audience.  Sometimes, no matter how eloquently you put something in spoken or written words, the mindset of an audience member is going down a different path.  There are several techniques speakers can use to ensure their audiences are with them.

This isn’t quite so with written pieces that are published in newspapers or posted on websites.  I wrote an Op Ed piece that was run in the Indianapolis Star on last Friday.  It was about the communication strategies that business people can learn from Obama’s inaugural speech.

The Op Ed piece got quite a bit of reaction on line.  69 comments at last count. While some of the comments were about what I had written–speaking tips for professionals, many of them were political in nature. Never did I address my opinion about President Obama’s agenda.  I only wrote about his speaking skills.  Yet some of the audience didn’t read that.  They only read the name Obama and reacted.

Like my friend and colleague, Dr. Karen Lawson, says—it’s not what you say, it’s what they hear. I guess that applies to editorial writings as well!

If you want to take a look, check out this website And make a comment.

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2 Responses to What Speakers Say vs. What Listeners Hear

  1. Bet that did not surprise you – getting political responses,
    it is akin to an actor who places a doctor on TV
    getting asked medical questions.

    What are you suggestions for keeping people with you
    – and your intent – when writing – especially on a hot topic?

    – another fan of your blog

  2. jeanpalmerheck says:

    My suggestion is to use VISUALS. It works while speaking. I’m not sure what I could have done for those folks who are blinded by their political leanings that they miss the point! Thanks for writing.

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