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How Problems with The Speaker can Affect Listening

Frequently, the speaker can create distractions due to his or her personal appearance, speaking down to an audience, the use of profanity or being unorganized.

However, whether the speaker has long hair or short hair, an old suit or a new suit, should not affect your ability to concentrate on the subject matter of the talk. Check out the speaker's appearance before the presentation, and then focus your attention on the content of the material -- not the material in the speaker's clothing.

If the speaker has an accent and is difficult to understand, don't hesitate to ask questions for clarification. Take notes and, if necessary, seek further clarification after the presentation.

If a speaker or instructor talks over your head (i.e., uses vocabulary that you're not familiar with or becomes too technical), again you may need to ask questions. If you know that you are going to be listening to a technical presentation of some sort, prepare ahead of time by doing a little research or reading on the topic.

Some speakers use profanity and/or vulgarity for impact. If you are offended by this, you can become easily distracted. Here again, it is important to focus on the message, on the content, and not on the speaker's style.

A speaker with a disorganized presentation can be very distracting. Take notes, but space out your notes so that you can fill in additional information later. You can compare notes with others who attended the lecture. Again, it might help to be prepared before the presentation by doing some reading or research into the subject matter.