The Best Ways To Read A Room

If you want to become a better public speaker, presenter or performer, you need to know your audience. That means understanding what matters most to the folks you’re addressing and to do that, you need another skill: the ability to read the room. Some people are born naturals at it, but others have to work to develop the skill and it all starts with paying attention to others around you.

To read the room, you need to be able to pick up on social cues and gauge the tone of the conversations happening. That’s easier said than done, but these strategies can help you get better at it.

  • Listen actively - Start observing as soon as you’re in the room, before the meeting or event even starts. What can you pick up on about the collective tone? Are people excited? Annoyed? Are they joking around or is there a more serious, tense vibe? To read the room, you need to identify the emotional state of the group and meet people where they are.
  • Let other people speak - If you’re going to actively listen, you can’t be talking constantly. When those silences naturally happen, don’t see them as awkward, let them be a chance to take in the environment and those in it. This doesn’t mean you should sit silently in a meeting and not contribute or speak up, but if you’re trying to read the room, your focus should be on the other people involved.
  • Observe nonverbal cues - Picking up on subtleties can tell you a lot. So take note of facial expressions, body language, posture, which direction people are facing and what they’re looking at. Don’t overlook those “quick microexpressions,” like raised eyebrows, tiny frowns and fleeting smiles, which can reveal a lot that isn’t being said.

Source: Lifehacker

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