The mind can process about 500 to 600 words per minute. But people usually speak at a rate of about 150 words a minute. That makes it easy to daydream while still performing the “chore” of listening.
As the speaker, you’ve got a challenge. You can’t command people to listen to you. But you can rivet their attention. Here’s how:
Give one-sentence answers. When someone asks you a question, use the first sentence to deliver a clear answer. Then stop. Don’t amplify or repeat your point, give unsolicited examples or blab about another topic. Let the listener decide whether to seek more information from you.
Slow your tempo. It’s easier for listeners to tune out if a fast talker scurries from point to point. Make every word count. Slowing your pace adds a forceful, emphatic quality that underscores your remarks.
Radiate goodwill. Deep down, you dislike the listener. Fine. Now banish that thought so that you see the good in someone when you speak. People might forget everything you say, but they will remember how you made them feel. Your thinly disguised contempt can sabotage your desire to be heard.