Great Speaking Starts with Great Listening

Many people want to be known as great speakers. Many people want to be known as the person who can make the point in a clear and compelling way. And many work on this skill by focusing initially on the wrong things.

Speaking well and sharing information is, first and foremost, about knowing how to take on information… how to identify what is most important… how to anticipate what the audience cares about… Speaking well requires that you know your audience, and you can’t know and understand your audience without actually listening to what they think and say.

It seems counter-intuitive to many people we work with. We start off all our workshops by first focusing, sometimes only for a few minutes, on active listening skills. It has become a lost art. Everyone is clamoring to be heard, but very few people actually hear. Everyone is speaking, and very few are listening.

But those who realize the value of listening well, accomplish two things: first, they enjoy the competitive advantage of understanding what others think and what might matter to them. That information can be helpful in a variety of ways as you prepare and practice what you want to say. And second, people who listen well become known as people who listen well. They become known as people who respect their colleagues and their audience. And this demonstration of respect in turn contributes towards a culture of respect that may spiral outward within an organization.

Listening well is a good thing, for many reasons.

And the point here today is that if you want to speak well, start by focusing on the art of listening well. You will gain lots of valuable information about what you should be speaking about, and what matters to those around you.

And if you listen well, you’ll distance yourself from the pack, because everyone else will be shouting to be heard.

Good luck, and have a great day.

The Latimer Group currently offers a workshop for our clients on Listening Skills and Followership. It would be our privilege to have you and your team join the discussion. To learn more, e-mail us at

Photo by Florian Seroussi used under the following license.


One response to “Great Speaking Starts with Great Listening”

  1. […] the audience preparation, the root problem may be that the speaker is not listening well enough. Good listening skills help us speak better in so many ways. When we listen well, we are more prepared, we know more about […]

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.