Have you ever been in a conversation where you’re nodding quickly because the person is saying something obvious, but they just keep on talking?
This is what it feels like for people to listen to a speaker talk about stuff they already know. It makes the speech boring and even infuriating to listen to.
So whenever you’re speaking, remember to follow these two principles by mentally repeating the phrase to yourself “Stop at the nod.”
1. Prepare new, interesting material for your audience
Make sure you are aware of what your audience already knows about the subject you are speaking on. Merely repeating the obvious to them is going to hurt your reputation.
For example, if you are a scientist who is presenting your findings to a lay audience, you’ll have to explain quite a bit about your experiment. But if you’re presenting to peers, you don’t want to bore them by explaining and repeating things they already know. Just get to the point.
2. Adjust based on audience reactions
Be flexible throughout your speech: be willing to skip a few sentences or even a whole point if you see that the audience already knows what you’re talking about.
Not all audience body language will be easy to read, but if you have high enough emotional intelligence you’ll be able to sense when they are ready for you to move on.
If the occasion is informal enough for this, you could ask the audience to raise their hands if they get your point and would like you to move on. They will appreciate that you care about their time.
Remember: stop at the nod to avoid repeating the obvious
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