Listening has always been an easy thing to do since we were in basic education. However, it gets difficult when we only hear what is being said but fail to understand what is being said.
Ideally, people should listen in order to understand. But in daily communications, the underlying problem is that most people listen to respond. The majority of people, including people in the workplace, tend to respond without processing what has just been said- without understanding. Being heard is important for one’s esteem as it makes one feel valued, respected and acknowledged. However, using reality card, this does not always take place- especially in the workplace.
Listening to the person speaking in front of you- now that brings respect to the table.
So what should you do if nobody at work listens to you anymore? Our brilliant guide will lend you a helping hand…
1. Re-establish rapport, nurture relationships
Merriam-Webster defines rapport as ‘harmonious relationship’. And in order for this to be achieved, a little warmth and empathy is needed. The thing is, you have to take care of your relationships at work even if they are just professional.
The underlying effect of having quality relationships at work makes ripples on many aspects of your career. People who have rapport with you will most likely listen since they trust and believe you. Hence, establishing and re-establishing rapport is important when suggesting ideas at work or during team-based tasks. This debunks the idea of burning bridges easily. Ensure you build strong relationships with your colleagues at all levels of the organisation, including your managers and bosses.
2. Gain people’s respect
Respect is earned, not given. People would only respect you if you put attention to your words, actions, and deeds. Being a good example and simply doing your job are plus points. As the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words”, so gain respect by following through with your words.
Respect comes a long, long way. You may be surprised at what it can do in the long run. Gain people’s respect by doing, saying, and writing good. It does not cost much to be respectful. Of course, show respect to others in the same way you would expect them to respect you. Treat others well and it will bounce back in bigger waves.
3. Be confident
How people take your words depends on what you show them. When speaking or explaining something, stand straight, chin up, shoulders back and be confident.
If people sense that you’re nervous, they might lose their trust on you because it looks like you don’t know what you’re saying. So speak clearly, and don’t use more words than is necessary to get your point across- be succinct. Making eye contact and not rushing your words is also a sign of confidence and your colleagues may begin to listen to you.
4. Practice listening etiquette
Basic rules? Give and take. You listen when someone is speaking. Pay attention, and nod when there are points that you agree on. Though this may sound easy, the concept of give and take is not well understood by many.
Give and take does not necessarily mean you have to listen to agree. It just means being respectful and allowing the person time to speak their mind. Don’t you also want to be heard? Reciprocation is key.
5. Watch your body language as you watch your words
Research suggest that 80% of our daily communication is nonverbal. Hence, the words that come out of your mouth do not necessarily match your body language.
When talking and listening, pay attention by standing straight, making eye contact, nodding when necessary and consider mirroring the body language of the person you’re communicating with. Avoid signs of defence, negativity or boredom such as shaking your legs, stretching your arms, looking around the room, slouching, crossing arms etc. With the right amount of appropriate body language when talking to your colleagues, they will start to pay attention to you.
6. Make sense 24/7
The struggle in balancing logic and empathy is real. Some people decide and talk based on their feelings.
If you always make sense when you talk, people would respect you and pay attention to what you’re saying. Practice processing your thoughts fast and try not to speak without thinking. You can take your time to think about what you are about to say before saying it. Put yourself in other people’s shoes- are you sure that your thoughts and ideas make sense?
7. Get it straight, no slippery slope!
Going back to your Introduction to Logic class, fallacies aren’t a thing and shouldn’t be practiced. A good example is committing slippery slope. When you speak, make it straight and to the point, so that people can understand easily, clearly and immediately.
Going through a lot of things before making your point weakens your argument. Along the way, your listener may lose interest and even stop listening before you get to your point. Being straightforward makes transactions faster. When your words are clear, understandable and organized, people will enjoy listening and take in what you say.
Listening is as important as talking. It is a skill that is often overlooked but it helps in getting you colleagues to listen to you, as well more broadly in advancing your career, whether it’s a promotion or a new job you’re after. One can develop it through time. People won’t listen to someone who cannot process their own thoughts and who does not listen to others in the first place. Most likely, people will reciprocate your actions. So, would you care to follow the above mentioned items in order to be heard? We bet you will!