Chatting, talking, speaking, waffling on as my dad says, is what we all do. We all talk to each other, however how often do you feel heard? How often can you say ‘Yep, I was listened to and my feelings, point of view or opinion was truly listened to and taken on board’.
Perhaps you have found yourself chatting to people, and realise they’ve not listened to you at all but are just nodding or gasping in the correct places, before they move onto something else. Maybe there have been occasions where you’ve been speaking, telling a part of your story and you’ve not even finished, stopping halfway through and the other person hasn’t even noticed so you just leave it, give up and think ‘What’s the point trying’!
Or perhaps you’re in a group setting, maybe in a discussion at work, and once again, you are not being listened too, the words are coming out, but nothing is responded too or even acknowledged. You know your voice is audible, and you certainly aren’t speaking super quiet like the girl in Pitch Perfect, but still no one responds or even takes what you’ve said on board.
So what can we do, to feel heard and start to feel like what you say matters? How can we ensure we don’t blend into the background and become part of the herd rather than be heard?
Well, here are some things to try.
- Stand up and speak up – ok, so you might not actually want to stand up, however when you hear people speak at a conference or to a large group of people they will likely be standing tall, projecting their voice and owning the room. Use this technique, whether you’re on the phone, Zoom or a Teams call or even sitting on the sofa next to the person. Talk like your speaking to 20 people or more, pretend the person at the back has to hear you! I’m not saying shout, I’m saying be heard!
- Be confident – Whatever it is you are saying, be confident, this goes hand in hand with the previous point, Stand tall, speak up, speak out and be confident. If you don’t believe what you are saying or are unsure or don’t have the confidence, then how do you expect others to listen and hear you. Own what you say and let your confidence shine – you have something worthy to say!
- Accept some people won’t listen – there will always be people who don’t listen, they will never hear what you have to say, for many reasons, they aren’t interested, they don’t care and/or they are only interested in what benefits them, if you mention something affecting them, their ears will prick up! However, please remember, everyone has something going on, it may not be malicious, the person may be dealing with personal issues, with the result being they don’t have the capacity to hear you at this time. That’s the time to be there for them and be sure they are heard.
- Give people the chance to have their say – Quite often we don’t feel heard, we might be waiting for the opportunity to jump in and say something, so all we are doing is running over and over in our head what we want to say, what we are desperate for others to hear and what we think is important. But were you listening to them, or are you too focused on you. Remember it is a two way street. You’ve got to listen to be listened too! I know it is challenging when on calls, with people jumping in all over, having their say and you feel like you aren’t getting your moment, use some of that confidence from the earlier point. Say what you want to say and for extra affect drop that mic!
- Don’t give up – whatever you do, don’t give up, if you have something to say and you want to be heard, then figure out what you need to do in order to be listened too. Perhaps write a letter, you’ll be heard in a different way, but it will give you a chance to say what you need to say without being interrupted! Now that may only work on a personal level, you’re not going to write one to your boss! No instead your more likely to write an email. Just promise me one thing, if you are ranting or angry and need to get things off your chest, please please leave it a day before you re-read and send, although the chances are you won’t send, you just needed a release.
- Know when to let go (ok so give up) – Yes I know I’ve just said don’t give up and now I am saying to give up! But perhaps what you need to say is no longer needed to be said, the time has passed or you’ve moved on. You may think, realistically, what is the point, it isn’t going to do what I thought it would, if no one has listened and really they aren’t interested and you are over it then give up! If it isn’t life changing or isn’t going to be a WOW moment for you, then leave it and save your voice for when you do have something WOW worthy.
So there you are, some points to help you be heard, be listened to and to help you get out what you need to say and stand out from the herd!
Have a wonderful week, thank you all for reading, you are all so kind.
Take care and look after you!
Love Emma xx