Speaking to be heard: Julian Treasure’s lessons on shaping your utterances

By Alexandra Jane

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The top rated international speaker Julian Treasure has given 5 TED talks, which have been collectively watched an estimated 30 Million times. Julian tackles the issue of speech and listening with the aim of growing and developing human health, wealth and relationships.

It has been acknowledged by a variety of top life coaches that people have become passive listeners – more often than not we are listening only in order to reply. This means that the listener has a substantial amount of work to do. Beyond this, Julian Treasure asserts that we need to alter the way that we speak so that people want to listen.

In one of his powerful TED talks Julian highlights the deadly sins of speech. The Seven Deadly Sins of speech are as follows: 


  1. Gossip 

Speaking ill of someone not present is not only a nasty habit, but is likely to engender gossip about you.


  1. Judgment 

Judging either other people or indeed the person you are engaging with in conversation is unlikely to produce a willing engaged listener. It is particularly hard to listen if you feel that you are being judged and found wanting.  


  1. Negativity 

Whilst pessimism will feature in everyone’s conversation at some point, a consistently negative outlook is not going to make you the appealing partner in a conversation.


  1. Complaining 

As with negativity, complaining simply creates ‘viral misery’. Complaining does nothing to solve issues and, further than this, becomes a passive way to dealing with a problem.


  1. Excuses 

Constantly passing the blame onto others is a highly unattractive feature of conversation.


  1. Lying 

Lying can begin as exaggeration. Exaggerating on a regular basis can demean our language and meaning when we actually want to make a point about the extremity of a fact or opinion. This can quickly develop into lying, which will never produce a receptive listener.


  1. Dogmatism 

This is the confusion of facts with opinions. Showering a companion with a series of opinions as though they’re true facts can become tiring, and is quickly seen through. The speaker appears to have an inflated sense of self-importance.

Whilst we need to be aware of these habits which can sneak into our conversation, Julian would like his audience to build up their powerful speech from a positive perspective. He cites 4 foundational pillars or cornerstones which make our language powerful. These are Honesty, Authenticity (also termed as ‘standing in your own truth’), Integrity and Love.

These come together to form the acronym HAIL, which works in itself as a word meaning to greet or exclaim enthusiastically.

The love element of hail is not romantic love, but is termed by Treasure as wishing people well. Whilst absolute honesty can be difficult in conversations, it is made more appropriate to every situation when tempered with love. Love also tackles the second of Treasure’s 7 deadly sins, as he finds it virtually impossible to truly wish someone well and judge them at the same time.


Alexandra Jane is the writer and editor of graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency. Check out their website to see which internships and graduate marketing jobs are currently available, as well as their graduate jobs Manchester page for further opportunities.

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