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Adjust midconversation

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

The best communicators adapt their messages on the fly—as they’re speaking—in response to verbal and non-verbal cues from the audience. Here’s how you can too:

Pay attention. Watch listeners. Do they seem confused? Do they need more information or are they beginning to lose interest? Do they seem to be following you or zoning out? If you pay attention, they will signal to you that you need to change directions or continue as usual.

Don’t focus on what YOU want. You have objectives. Still, your focus should remain on why your listeners should care about what you’re saying, why it’s important to them, and why it matters that you have the conversation. Choose words that resonate with them. That’s the key to keeping them engaged.

Talk to your listeners. Ask them open-ended questions or poll them. You don’t want to lecture to your listeners; you want them to be a part of the conversation.

— Adapted from “3 Actions to Adaptability: Communicate a Message That Resonates With Listeners,” Stacey Hanke,

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