Sometimes I see presenters taking audience questions with a serious, stern looking face and I wonder how the person asking the question felt about that. The presenter is not doing it intentionally (just concentrated) but really looks mean! They need to use their “listening to kids” face….
Just now, my youngest daughter (4) came to my office while I was working on something and started talking to me. I wasn’t expecting the “interruption” and I had my “concentrated work face” on. She was talking about something she had just been doing and I realised that my face must have looked really miserable to her. I wasn’t miserable, but I was concentrated and a bit tired, maybe a little bit frowning.. ..and just listening to her. It looked something like this:
As I realised this, I changed my facial expression and saw almost immediately her own expression change, which I took as an indication of how her feelings (about talking to me) changed. My new listening face looked something like this:
If you want people to feel good about asking you questions in a presentation and if you want them to feel like you welcome the question and they can ask more if they want to, then you need to put on a good listening face. If you don’t, they risk to think you don’t care or that you are annoyed by their question…
Here’s a few tips to put on your “listening to kids face”:
- Relax, especially between the eye-brows
- Smile, with your eyes as well
- Nod your head a little
- Try tilting your head a little (like dogs do!) as if to say “What’s that you said?”
- Imagine yourself saying “OK, I like what you are saying. Keep going…”
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