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How can I make others listen?

I feel like I am ignored, even when what I say is beneficial for progress. I'm sometimes passive, in fear of judgement or in an attempt to help others speak their mind so no disagreements arise. I want others to listen to what I have to say with as much respect as I give to them. I feel like some ideas I have are great ideas, but my method of execution might not be accurate. How can I make others listen to what I have to say? How can I keep their attention long enough to finish my thoughts before others interrupt?

#listening-skills #listening #social-skills #workplace #productivity

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9 answers

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Lory’s Answer

This situation occurs often in group settings, so you're not alone. Listening is a art that not all have mastered and there's an old saying, "Listen first to be heard". Often we listen only to respond with an answer instead of truly understanding what is being discussed. The next time you have something that you'd like to contribute to a group setting, first try to listen to what it being said, absorb those initial comments. Truly understand what the group is trying to accomplish. See if you can contribute to the conversation, or ask questions about the dialogue. If you're helping to move the group forward, interjecting a new idea while your understanding what's being discussed may be heard more openly. First contribute to the common goal, the team goal and the team may be open to hear new information.

i really like this answer. let me add that i often use "first seek to understand" from covey's 7 habits. the best way to do this, and often engage in a larger conversation/meeting, is to paraphrase someone's position they are taking back to them, which will lead to a dialogue, and enable you to inject your thoughts as you have the group listening to your summary. David MacBeth

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Vas’s Answer

It is one of the toughest thing and also frustrating to see if your audience are not listening to what you are trying to convey. One of the way that I have found for myself useful for me to get people’s attention is - when we are talking or performing etc., We need to actively engage the audience with an interactive set up with what you are trying to convey to them. Being interactive will allow your audience express their views and also listen to what you have to offer to them. When you do it next time, practice what you have to say to your audience "once or twice with your family or friends". Start your speech with greetings, make a joke to loosen up  your audience, speak up with confidence with what you need to convey to them and also open it up by asking questions, so that your focus will be on creating a relationship with your audience.

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Lynnquell’s Answer

It can be difficult to present your ideas if you fear others will not listen. Try not to let previous experience with feeling ignored hurt your current level of confidence. Know that whether or not others respond favorably to your ideas, you are still worthy of respect and being heard. I would suggest you:
- Research as much information on your idea as this will only help boost your confidence.
- Practice active listening: This is representing compelling information that other group members/colleaugues/friends have mentioned and integrating them into your idea. People often like to feel acknowledged and can identify with what you are saying when it's relatable.
- Proceed confidently. Sometimes others are listening despite how it may seem.
- Ask for feedback. This shows that you value your colleagues input and also sets the expectation for them to listen to what you are saying in order to give feedback.

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Kevin J.’s Answer

I am going to try to add some thoughts that haven't already been addressed in the previous very good answers to your question.

My first thought is that you can't really "make" anyone listen though you can certainly do some things that will make you more "listenable."

Part of getting people to pay attention to what you say is to be a good listener yourself. While it might seem backwards, people do take notice when they are being listened to and that will go a long way towards your goal of having what you say be heard. With that in mind, let me recommend a few good books on the subject:

Kate Murphy: You’re Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why it Matters
Scott Ginsberg: The Power of Approachability
Chip Heath: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Leil Lowndes: How to Talk to Anyone
Carmine Gallo: Talk Like TED
Euny Hong: The Power of Nunchi

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Brenda’s Answer

I think most people have struggled with this at one time or other in their lives. First of all know that what you have the share is important and valuable. Then speak-up with confidence. Practice doing this among small groups and friends then it will be easier to do so when in other situations.

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Tina’s Answer

Hello Maria - It looks like you have lots of great responses already so I will try to not be redundant with my input.

Let me offer this, much like has already said try to ask questions for clarity but to also create a verbal opening for yourself and it allows others know you're listening AND have a voice.

I relate to your discomfort as I am naturally a passive, listening type of person. I used to prefer to just "exist" in a conversation because my discomfort or lack of confidence in my voice. But I practiced and learned how to interject in conversations by recognizing "breaks". I learned by asking people to help me practice speaking up and even practiced in front of a mirror to feel more confident. And it helped. I have led training sessions and classes at Disney University with the Walt Disney Company. And I've spoke to various groups and on committees in university roles. My greatest advice is to practice and embrace the discomfort until you start to understand how to manage your voice and speaking ability. I still get really nervous when I have to speak in front of a group but I have learned how to interject my thoughts and be confident in what I have to say.

Over time you'll learn what works well for you and how to get people to take notice and listen. I believe you'll find your voice soon and with it being heard you'll make some big impacts! Don't give up!

Tina recommends the following next steps:

Practice speaking in front of a mirror - gives you feedback and helps you gain confidence.
Ask family and friends to help you with breaking into conversations. Ask them to discuss things and then practice "breaking" in by cutting off someone or speaking up. This will help you feel more comfortable and confident in getting into the discussion and conversation.

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Josee’s Answer

Hello. That is certainly frustrating. I was in a workshop today and for moment I felt like by voice was not heard either. When this happens to me I always take a step back and try to see how I can help others in the group speak up. For example a person from our group today did not have the opportunity to speak up because he kept getting interrupted. By focusing on someone other than me that was going through the same thing it helped both of us since after that he returned the favor and asked my opinion as well. The person that kept interrupting started listening. Often times, creating allies in small group is the best way to be heard. Maybe next time you have an opportunity to help someone speak up, do so. It will show others that you care and that you also have a voice.

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Elena’s Answer

Hello, Maria
At the beginning of my career, I used to be shy to speak up in front of people and I was losing a lot. To overcome my fear, I went to study public speaking at the local Toastmasters club, where with others I was practicing how to communicate better, speak clearly, and how to become a leader.
Also, you can prepare presentations and volunteer to speak up at your school, work, or family events.
If you want to grow in your career, you need to learn how to speak up. Believe me, no one is born as a brilliant speaker. Speaking is like other skills, that can be learned. Through regular practice, you can overcome your fears and master the art of communication.
Just have a plan and act.
Warm regards,

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Quanita’s Answer

One of the things I found beneficial for me, is to be interactive. When I'm speaking I like to have my audience (no matter the size) engage to ensure they're listening. This gives them a chance to talk as well as listen. Try it next time. Speak slowly and confident, ask more questions, and focus on creating a relationship with your audience. It will help.

Quanita recommends the following next steps:

When you have ideas, instead of just talking about them, try reinstating the problem/question and then follow up with your suggestion.