How To Get People To Listen To You at work
Have you ever been in a meeting and despite all of your best efforts, your ideas just weren’t being heard? Or perhaps you’re trying to share your ideas and you feel dismissed? Not feeling heard is one of the biggest sources of conflict within the workplace.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn where she interviewed author, and psychotherapist, Nixaly Leonardo.
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If you want to learn how to get people to listen to you, you’ll want to make sure you are an active listener as well. Listening is key to impactful speaking.
1. When Someone Isn’t Listening
When it comes to communication conflict, it is often because one person isn’t listening to the other person.
You may find yourself in a situation where you are being talked over or aren’t given the opportunity to speak. This can be very frustrating. You may not realize it, but that person is actually communicating something to you too. And depending on the situation, you will want to address it. However, it is best to address how you are feeling when you aren’t in the moment.
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Nixaly outlined a strategy you can use when addressing not being heard.
- First, you will want to choose the right time and place. Make sure the time is when the person is able to be free of distraction. The place you choose to have the meeting should be appropriate. For example, you may not want to be in a public area, but rather in a private office, or in a scheduled 1-1 virtual meeting.
- Let the other person know that you’d like to touch base on something and it would be a quick meeting.
Once you are in the meeting, you will want to start the conversation from a positive point of view:
Positive Comment – Similar to the sandwich method of feedback, starting with a positive statement will prevent the other person from becoming defensive. You can say something like, “I really love working with you. I love how you do xyz, and I’m trying to learn how to work better with you.”
Concern – After starting with a positive statement, you can then address your concern. For example, you can say something like, “I think we could work better if we were both talking about our ideas together and not just having one-sided conversations.” Be sure to have specific examples you can directly reference so they know where it’s coming from.
Question – After you state your concern, a great way to end is by asking a question. For example, you can say, “do you feel like we are both communicating our messages? Or, do you feel like we are both open to the other person’s ideas?” When you ask a question to end it, you are allowing the other person to consider the answer. You also aren’t making an accusation, which is usually what causes someone to become defensive.
When you feel like you aren’t being listened to, it is important to address the situation. By using the above strategy, you are communicating your desire to work together rather than simply being upset. Oftentimes, people will respond better to collaborative efforts rather than straight criticisms.
2. Being Heard In A Meeting Setting
When you are in a large meeting, whether it be in person or on video, it can be hard to get a word in. Especially if there are a lot of people trying to do the same thing. You don’t want to be rude and interrupt, but you also want to be able to speak up and be heard. So how can you do this?
- Address the situation – If this is a reoccurring theme, you’ll want to address it with specific co-workers who seem to constantly interrupt you, or your supervisor who can help troubleshoot. Perhaps it’s a dynamic issue you weren’t aware of before. By addressing it with others, they may be able to help you understand when and how you can speak up during one of these meetings.
- Send an Email – If you weren’t able to get your ideas out during the meeting, consider sending an email. Email is still a form of communications while getting your ideas heard! You can say, “Hey, I didn’t get a chance to talk about his during the meeting, but here are a few ideas I had regarding xyz. Let me know what you think if you want to talk about it in the next meeting.” This way you are getting your ideas out there and letting your team know you’d like to discuss them further.
In our LinkedIn Learning e-course, Speaking Up At Work (close to 200,000+ learners!) you will learn how to actively build your authority and what steps you can take to make sure your ideas are heard by the right people within your organization.
Remember, it is important that your ideas are heard by your co-workers, especially those with seniority.
3. Reengage your Audience when things get off track
Have you noticed that sometimes when you speak, you can tell others are simply lost or disengaged? Or perhaps your idea keeps getting derailed and off track. Both of these scenarios are extremely frustrating and can throw you off your thinking.
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica, and Nixaly touched on what to do in both of these cases.
What to do if the person you are speaking to derails your conversation and things start to get off track:
Try to redirect the conversation:
- Acknowledge first what the other person is trying to say. For example, you can say, “Okay, I’m glad you brought that up, I didn’t realize that was an issue. I do appreciate you bringing it up. I definitely want to talk about this. But we did start the conversation talking about XYZ, is it okay if we finish up that conversation and then continue talking about these concerns that you are having? I definitely want to address that. I just don’t want to get derailed.” By acknowledging yet standing your ground, you are letting others know that you will respond to their comments but first, you’d like to finish yours.
Acknowledging others is key because if the person you are speaking feels dismissed, they will shut down too, meaning you will lose their attention.
What to do if people seem disengaged:
- Tone + Volume – Are you aware of the tone and volume of your voice? If your tone of voice is off, perhaps you are being sarcastic or patronizing, chances are your audience will stop listening. If you are monotone and have little change in your tone of voice, your audience will get bored and drift off. Consider your volume as well. If people can’t hear you, they will stop listening. And if you are being extremely loud, people will feel like you are yelling. Both of these things can cause people to stop listening.
- Body Language – Your body language can show you are open to a conversation (or if you are uncomfortable and nervous!) Your audience is picking up on that very quickly. In our e-course, Mastering Non-Verbal Communications, you will learn how to effectively use body language to engage your audience. The key is to engage and not intimidate. If you are standing over someone as you speak, you are making the other person feel small. So, consider your body language if you notice that your audience has stopped listening or is shutting down.
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica reminded people that part of making sure people listen to you is tailoring your message to them. You’ll want to think about who your audience is and what they want to hear.
If you feel like people aren’t listening to you, it is best that you address the situation. The more you can collaboratively come up with ways to get your ideas heard, the better. Keep in mind your tone and body language as you speak. And don’t forget to tailor your message!
If you would like to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Nixaly’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.
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