Let’s face it. People stink at listening. It’s even worse today with all the smart devices. People are so wrapped up in their own little worlds, they don’t take the time to listen. People don’t know how to listen though. Here are some tips to help get people to listen to you.
You can’t get others to listen if you aren’t willing to do it yourself. You will be thinking about what you are going to say while they are still talking. It’s impossible to listen when this is going on. Take the time to truly listen to conversations.
Pay attention to your body language. When you send a signal that you are closed, they won’t listen to what you have to say. They will sense that you are not optimizing your communication protocol and will shut themselves as well.
If you are in the habit of interrupting people, they will resent you for doing this. They can’t listen to you if they are resentful towards you. Break the habit of interrupting and let people speak. It’s rude to interrupt. The good news is it is just a habit and something that can be easily broken.
Try to keep emotions out of your conversations. If you are speaking from a position of anger, people will not respond well to that. They won’t listen to anything you say. Even managers get better responses from people when they remain calm. If you are getting emotional about an issue, agree to revisit it later. Use the excuse that you have a meeting or have to see someone, etc.
People won’t listen to you if you don’t speak clearly. For instance, if people are constantly asking you to repeat what you have to say, you may be mumbling or speaking in too soft a voice. Project your voice, but don’t shout. Also, if you talk fast, try to slow down your speech. People have a hard time listening to fast talkers because it's too exhausting to keep up with them.
Don’t pretend to know information when you don’t. People have this notion that they are supposed to know everything. However, if you earn a reputation of giving out misinformation, no one is going to listen to you. This is not an easy perception to break once it happens, either. It is perfectly acceptable to state that you don’t know something and that you are willing to look it up. Of course, if you constantly state that you don’t know anything, that is also a problem.
On your next commute, strike up a conversation. Make it a point to learn the name of the person and what he or she does for a living. The next time you see that person, address them by name. If you don’t remember, you weren’t listening well, and you need to work on your listening skills.
Learn about the interests of a colleague at work. Start to talk about those interests. People will open up when they find out you are interested in them. When they open up, they will easily listen to what you have to say. After a while, they will listen to all of your words, not just what they are interested in.
For your next scheduled meeting, be better prepared for it. In other words, find out the proper data and research before you go to the meeting. Try to anticipate what issues and questions may arise. When you are prepared, people will respect your knowledge and be much more willing to listen to you.