“There is no one listening! I keep telling them they have got it wrong. But they just don’t take it on board!”
My client was getting more and more frustrated and angry with his customers who seemed oblivious to a critical problem.
I asked what made him think there was no one listening.
“They won’t change. So they must not realise there is a problem!”
Before looking for solutions, I always let the client talk and really listen closely. Sometimes rephrasing their situation in a story can help them step back and see more clearly.
It is better to light a candle…
When children are frightened of the dark, they screw their eyes tight shut. As long as they sense the darkness through their eyelids, no matter what you tell them and how often you do so, they will keep their eyes closed. By closing their eyes they are shutting out the fearful thing. Telling them that keeping their eyes shut is silly will have little effect. If you listen, reassure, hold them or light a light, those little eyes will open.
As adults we often behave in a similar way though perhaps not as obvious. Next time no one listens, think about how you could change the way you deliver your message. Ask why people might not want to hear what you are saying.
How to get some one to listen
- Start with listening to the person, understand what their fears and drivers are. Until we feel heard, we cannot think clearly nor can we listen to others. So active listening is key to the magic. You need to listen so well that people can hear themselves…until they feel safe and respected. This switches on the logical bit of the mind.
- Start with respect. Ask permission
- Find common purpose. Fear, anger and other emotions can hijack logic. As Stephen Covey says, think win-win What would make them want to listen? Start by finding the things you agree on, the goals you have in common, what you admire in the other. This will remind you of the end result you want to achieve and reassure the other person.
- Speak in a way that makes it easy to listen. Give positive ideas, avoid blame, listen, look for mutual benefit.
- Keep listening and responding positively
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