#101 | 3 S’s to get people listening more
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I bet you can name a person you know that has selective hearing. On many occasions you distinctly remember telling this person about a certain event, or a particular story. Later that person denies having the conversation.
One of the questions I get asked often is “how do I get my message across?”. And they say “I feel Frustrated, not heard, not understood. Am I speaking another language?”
1. Simple & specific – you go into too much detail, or use too much jargon.
2. Sound & Silence – you don’t give others a chance to speak up
3. Space & time – you don’t take the time to build rapport
These S’s to get people listening to you more can be applied to multiple situations, including casual conversation, work based presentation or when you are public speaking.
Simple & specific
Are you getting too detailed, or using language no one seems to understand?
Then you need to make it simple and specific.
In the words of William Butler Yeats – Irish Poet “Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”
Many people get lost in detail. If you tend to be a details person, and the person you are chatting to prefer the big picture – well you are going to lose them. The person will quickly tune out.
Another reason why people get lost, is the jargon or language you are using.
I’m going to show you some tough love here: ‘don’t be too much in love with your own intellect’.
I am not suggesting that the person you are speaking to isn’t smart, or is intellectual inferior to you. I am suggesting that it takes less neural energy to listen and connect when you keep language simple. It is suggested that people have been 20,000 and 60,000 thoughts in a day, so in my book, the less you make people think, the better!
If the people you are talking to want more detail than what you are giving, they will generally ask.
2Sound & Silence
Are you bumping your gums too much – not allowing for sound and silence?
We live in an environment where there is noise all around us, the TV or games are always in the background; earphones always in, working in an open office environment, and so on.
The constant sound, or some would say noise, is impacting our ability to listen. Our ability to really listen. Consciously listen. We need to re-tune our ability to listen.
Now this topic is about ways to get people listening to you more. So why, you may ask, am I doing the listening?
Well for you to engage in conversation, to be heard, it takes at least two people. Sometimes people aren’t listening, because they don’t feel heard!
And then there is silence. Sometimes silence is good. Sometimes silence is needed. To help what you are talking about resonate. To sink in.
Some people are afraid of silence. They think that silence is a cue to fill it with more talking. But actually, silence is a great way to help others catch up with where you are at. Particularly if it is a longer conversation, idea or topic that you want them to listen to. I call it a ‘power nap for the brain’. Giving the other person a chance to fire up all those neural pathways to connect or learn more.
Other people are not necessarily afraid of the silence, they just don’t know how to use it. Enter the dreaded ‘filler’ words or phrases that are overused. Such as ‘it’s interesting’, ‘are you with me’, um, are, okay and a plethora of other words that don’t add meaning to the conversation, topic or idea.
Space and time
Are you picking the right moment?
Sound places us in a space and time. So when wanting to communicate with others, make sure the space or the environment, is appropriate for the conversation that you are about to have, or the talk that you are about to give.
For a dramatic example, you wouldn’t want to deliver bad news to someone when at a kids party, or some other celebration.
The setting, or space can be really important, and a reason why people don’t listen to you. I don’t tell my husband, Charlie, important information when the TV is on. I know he is distracted or in zone out mode.
So think about where you are having the conversations that just aren’t working. It could quite possibly be the environment (space) that is holding the conversation back.
The first thing I want to say about time is give time to others, first. When people feel that they have been heard first, it builds rapport. Helps others listen more intently. And could quite possibly guide the conversation in a completely different direction. There is nothing worse than starting a conversation or a topic and realising that you had made assumptions about where the person is at. There is no quicker way for a conversation to go wrong because of assumptions or judgments that you have made before getting clarity.
The second thing I want to say about time, is pick your timing! Just like it is not the appropriate environment to give someone bad news at a birthday party, it also is the wrong time.
People are also more ready to listen if you hold the conversation at a time when they are not tired, upset, hangry, or unwell. It will put them even more in threat mode making them want to retreat even further from the conversation.
Timing and environment is everything if you want to be heard!
Stay tuned for the episodes coming up:
#102 | How to streamline team communication
#103 | 3 tips to get your family talking
#104 | How to not freak out when speaking to your boss