We have to earn the attention and trust of our listeners and readers


“None of us ever truly has a captive audience. We have to earn the attention and trust of our listeners and readers.” – Rachel Toor

I find myself talking at length about subjects I am most interested in. Perhaps to the chagrin of my colleagues. Sometimes I get heated and animated because I love the concepts or feel that I have something brilliant to say and I speak loudly, quickly, and intrusively.

After reading this article on the Chronicle of Education I’m having second thoughts.

In every situation, simply carrying on, is going to bore your audience. A conversation needs a back and forth. Or else it’s a soliloquy.

This aint no Shakespeare play. This is real life!

“Early-career professors who worry about their authority may feel the need to prove that they deserve to be at the head of the class. They may suffer from impostor syndrome, having just learned the stuff they’re teaching. Eager to cover any inadequacies or incomplete knowledge, they trot out what they do know. They may be uncomfortable with silence and rush to fill it.” – Rachel Toor


“Or it’s possible that, like me, they just get so excited about the material that they can’t refrain from pointing out every single thing they think is cool. I’ve learned that it’s often a bad idea to teach a book I adore because if my students don’t love it as much as I do, first my feelings get hurt and then I rush in to show them what they’re missing. In class I’ll talk too much instead of waiting for them to say all the things they would have said if I’d only given them a chance. I try to be aware of that; sometimes I succeed.” – Rachel Toor


“How do they manage to miss the way the temperature in the room cools when they filibuster? Do they not see how people shut down? How suddenly everyone’s cuticles need picking or there’s a rush to use the bathroom?” – Rachel Toor



“Since then, at the start of every course, I ask each student to wait until three others have had a chance speak before they pipe up again. That can allow time and space for those who need a few extra moments to have their say. I try to follow the same rule myself in meetings.” – Rachel Toor

I love simple rules. Rules to live by. Rules that can be applied universally. When I find a rule like this I immediately put it into place and test it out. What’s your experience with this?

Can you stop yourself from talking about subjects you love until at least 3 people have had a chance to talk? Test it out and let me know!

Author: David Neely

Professional Software Developer. Technology and Web Coordinator at the University of Hawaii's Manoa Career Center.