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Coaching Club: 5 Tips to Get People to Listen

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Each week at Coaching Club, we tackle a different theme. From negotiation skills to working with micromanagers and embracing change, our members learn the best ways to manage these situations and come out on top.

Recently, we coached on the topic of how to speak so people listen, whether that’s in a room full of people or talking in a one-to-one meeting. We all have moments where we don’t feel heard, and it can be really frustrating. But, how do you get people to listen to you without getting annoyed?

Why don’t people listen?

There are a number of reasons why people don’t listen to you, and as uncomfortable as it can be, we have to look at ourselves and what we do or say can cause people to tune out. Here are seven reasons why people don’t listen:

You don’t listen

A good question to ask yourself is, ‘Do I listen?’ You may hear what people say, but do you listen and acknowledge what people are saying. If someone doesn’t feel that they’re being listened to, they’re likely not to listen back.

You gossip a lot

We all love a chat, but often, what starts as an informal catch up can turn into a gossip session leaving people wondering what you say about them. 

You’re judgemental

We all form opinions, it’s part of our DNA, but it’s how you manage those judgements, and voice them, that can make or break a reputation. Take a moment to reflect back on the week’s past conversations and see if there was anything that could have been said from a personal rather than professional perspective.

You’re negative

Do you have a tendency to look on the negative side? Are you a bit cynical? As good as it can be to question or be cautious, too many negative comments can make people assume that you’re dismissing their ideas (whether you mean to or not) and are less likely to come to you in the future. 

You confuse your opinions with facts

It’s easy for us to get wrapped up in our own opinions, but have you weighed your opinions against the facts? Do they match? If not, why not? Sometimes we ignore the facts and settle for our own opinions because it’s easy and matches our own feelings when we need to step back and think from a different perspective.

You’re interrupting others

Whether you get excited and want to share your enthusiasm, or want to correct a mistake, when you interrupt others, it can be seen as dismissing the other person’s own thoughts and ideas. 

You’re not confident

If you’re not confident about what you say, then those around you are likely to think that you don’t have confidence in your idea, or thoughts. Confidence gives conviction which people recognise and buy into.

The Hail Approach

So how do you get people to listen to you? After all, you have great ideas which deserve to be shared. This is where the HAIL approach comes in.

H - Honesty

Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and ideas. Be honest! Everything is so much easier when we’re honest, even if it’s something that’s not necessarily positive or enjoyable to share. It helps build stronger, more meaningful relationships and creates a safe space for people to talk.

A - Authenticity

When you stop being honest, you stop being authentic. In short, you stop being the real you. We’ve all met someone at some point who’s tried to be someone they’re not, it’s blindingly obvious and can be uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to be you and own what you have to say.

I- Integrity

Mean what you say and do what you say, show there’s consistency in both your thoughts and action. You believe in what you say, show that by doing it.

L - Love

Share your thoughts, ideas and observations with the view to make a positive impact. Think about your intention for the meeting, are you looking to get the best out of everyone (and yourself) or are you on the backfoot and being defensive? Your intention for the meeting shapes the reality of what it will become. 

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Communicator

So, we’ve had a look at ourselves and what development points we have, but how do we make it a reality?

Active listening

Be engaged, and acknowledge what they’re saying. Make eye contact and watch your body language. Sitting slumped with little eye contact doesn’t show someone who’s engaged.

Encourage people to talk about themselves

Some people need to be encouraged to talk about themselves. Use open questions that start with ‘What’, ‘Why’ or ‘How’ to help them share their thoughts.

Use their name

To quote Dale Carnegie, author of, How to Win Friends and Influence People, “Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” 

In other words, we like to hear our name, it shows interest and when someone uses our name, we feel special and noticed.

Make them feel important

A genuine compliment on someone’s work or their ideas also helps them feel special. It makes them feel that you’ve taken the time to notice them and what they do and this gives them a boost of confidence. 

Focus on your similarities

People like to feel that they’re with others that share the same interests and ideas. It helps build a bridge between one person and another, and when you have this bridge, you build rapport.

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