How do you know if your listeners really 'got it'?

By: David Greenberg
Posted: 02/02/2010

When you're finished speaking, how do you know if your listeners
really 'got it'?

Here are five proven techniques to ensure that your message is getting across:

1. Ask better questions.
After covering a new concept, rather than asking, "Are there any
questions?" ask questions like,"Who can provide an example of how
this might work for you?" or "How do you think you can apply this?"
or "Where have you seen examples of this in your life?" Take several
examples and thank each person for sharing. This works when talking
with a group or with just one person.

2. Give 'em a prize.
Say something like: "I really want to make sure that we're all on
the same page. Before we move on, I've got a great book as a prize
for the first person who can tell me in his or her own words three
main ideas from the material we've covered so far.' You may even
want to let them know that they'll be a prize before you cover the
topic so they listen better from the start.

3. Conduct a "Shared Pair".
Say something like, "I've introduced a lot of new information.
Please turn to a person sitting next to you and each take 30 seconds
to share the most important points you've learned so far and how you
can apply it to your situation." Monitor the conversations so that
you know they do understand your message and are learning.

4. Play Poker.
Instead of conducting a typical review or summary at the end of your
presentation, conduct a brief quiz at the end of each section, where
you ask questions about the material covered. If someone answers
correctly, give the person a playing card. At the end of your
presentation, award a small prize for the best poker hand or highest
card total. For a bit of team building, you might want to have
participant work in groups of two or three.

Here's the bottom line: It's not enough to present your information.
Your audience must receive it and digest it. The best way to make
sure that this happens is to check. Try some of the techniques above
or create your own, and you'll never have to wonder again if they
really "got it."


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