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Public Speaking

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In regards to the role of listening during a public speaking engagement the importance is leant to both the speaker and the members of the audience. While initially, the importance of listening seems to rely heavily on those actually listening, once considered, it becomes more than obvious that all parties involved must participate in the listening process.

Listening is an interaction between the speaker and the listener. It adds action to a normally passive process. The speaker ought to look for verbal and nonverbal responses from the listener to determine if the message is being listened to. Listening means understanding their audience, and connecting with them prior to speaking. The speaker should maintain eye availability and in effect, let the audience "write their material" from information received from non-verbal responses (body language). Based on the response, the speaker should either adjust or continue with their communication style. Being receptive to your conversant allows them to relax and make the appropriate connection so that true communication as well as the listening on their part can begin.

For the listener active listening is required in order to understand, interpret and evaluate what they hear. It is important that listeners understand that listening and hearing are not the same thing. We have no control over what we hear. The sounds that we hear haven't a meaning until we give them meaning in context. Listening is an active process that constructs meaning from both verbal and nonverbal messages. It is not a natural process, but rather a skill that is acquired. Listening requires effort and attention.

As the listener takes part in the "active listening" process they are thinking about what they hear. This allows them to truly understand what the speaker is imparting and in turn gives them the opportunity to formulate and give feedback to the speaker. The speaker listens to the non-verbal communication and as such the continuous cycle of listening on the parts of both the speaker and listeners is ongoing



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