Many people suffer from a critical misconception regarding being heard. Being heard is not always about speaking louder. Most of the time, being heard is about doing a number of things differently, most of which have nothing to do with the words coming out of your mouth.
We live in a loud, confusing, fast-paced, attention-deficit world. We all know this, and my colleagues and I write about it all the time. But it is true, and to survive in this world, we need to communicate in ways that build trust and credibility.
So here are five things that we think matter in today’s world… five things that will increase the chances that you and your message will be heard and remembered:
- Be the person who has something to say, more than just opinion. Everyone has opinions these days. But to be heard you need to be the person who can communicate value, and provide informed opinion, not just opinion.
- Be the person who actually listens to other people. Be present. Don’t multi-task your way through life. Put down the phone, pay attention, and show respect for the person who is speaking. This will benefit you in two ways: you will gather better information, and you will be demonstrating respect… both of which make you more credible.
- Be the person who is situationally aware. Know your audience. Pay attention to what is happening around you, and them. Don’t assume that a one-size-fits-all message is appropriate, because it almost never is.
- Be the person who clarifies and simplifies. The person who can only speak with acronym, jargon and tech speak is the person who is making things harder for his/her audience, and the message has less resonance. The person who can make things simple and easy to understand brings amazing value, and that is a person people want to listen to.
- Be the person who does not attack those with opposing views. When we are under attack, we get into a defensive posture, and no one’s mind is open when they are under attack. Let them come out of their crouch. Keep things calm and respectful. Your message is much more likely to be heard.
Being heard today is NOT about yelling louder. Being heard today is about listening, awareness, respect and a high degree of emotional intelligence.