Communication skills are an essential skill to master. If we expect to have quality relationships, succeed professionally, and live a happy life, we have to be able to communicate effectively and ensure our voice is heard.
Sure, those around you will hear the sound you’re making when you talk, but you need them to actively listen. You need them to hear, understand, and remember what it is you’re saying, but that’s often easier said than done; after all, you can’t force someone to listen to you.
In this article, we’ll help you learn how to start speaking to be heard and get those around you to actually listen, not ignore you.
1) Ask if your opinion is wanted
Have you ever noticed a person avoiding making eye contact with you or interrupting you while you’re offering advice or your opinion? If they show this little interest in your point of view, the person with whom you’re speaking may be getting defensive.
Getting over this speed bump can be difficult. The person you’re talking to is sensing criticism in your tone and/or message, triggering the defensive reaction from them.
Next time present the fact that you may have a new perspective on the situation or some advice and ask if they want to hear it. Present the information kindly and without harsh criticism. This will help to keep them from getting so defensive.
2) Notice the cues the person is giving you
Do people often check their phones while you’re speaking, making you feel like you’re just wasting your time and boring them? This could be caused by communication style differences. Some people respond better to storytelling, while others need direct and focused communication styles.
Using the wrong communication style with the person to whom you’re speaking can cause them to check out of the conversation and become bored. You need to adjust and communicate in a way that will resonate with them.
3) Tell the person you’re talking to what your intentions are
Sometimes, you don’t want a solution to your problems, you merely want to vent about the situation and relieve your stress. Pre-empt your friends by informing them of this from the get-go. Don’t lead them on as if you want their opinion when you don’t.
You can do this by starting the conversation with: “I’m sorry, can I vent a little?” or “I just want to vent right now.” This will signal to them immediately that you don’t want input, advice, or a solution, you merely want to release some of the stress and commiserate.
4) Be the listener you’re asking them to be
Ever heard the phrase: “Treat others the way you’d like to be treated”? This definitely applies when it comes to truly being listened to. The better you listen, the better those around you will listen to you. When you put the effort in, it motivates other people to do the same.
Make sure you’re actively listening when your coworkers, friends, or loved ones are talking to you. Show them how important they are by taking an interest in what they say and do.
Communication skills and listening skills go hand and hand and are a crucial part of achieving success and happiness. You have to be able to convey your message accurately, be heard, and listen well to others.
We hope this article helps you to speak and actually be heard. Don’t forget that listening in the same way you’re asking your friends to is just as important; you can neither hold them to higher standards than you hold yourself nor can you expect them to want to truly listen to you without extending the same courtesy.