Use your “listening to kids face” when listening to your audience

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:

bad presentation listening face






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:

good presentation listening face







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…”


If you want more tips for a good charming listening face, read “The Power of Charm” by @BrianTracy and Ron Arden. Its a very easy to use and easy to read guide to active listening.


Thanks for reading.

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Published by Dan Steer

Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

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  1. Great Post! I believe this also applies when you’re in a ‘sales’ situation, during a progress meeting, or during any meeting for that matter. I will now be more aware of my listening face.

  2. Dan, you’re right! I hope somebody once will right the book why children are our role models (and not the contrary) and how by improving our parenting skills we improve ourselves down the road. If nobody will, then I’ll have to! đŸ™‚ cheers

  3. Hi Dan, this post was hilarious! I know exactly what you mean. We try our best as parents don’t we, but sometimes our kids must think we’re so damn serious. I love your sense of humour in writing this post.

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