TALKING – so people listen to you

TalkingThe manner in which we talk to people has a big impact on whether they accept our feedback or close their minds to it. This applies to all walks of our life be it at work in our role as a manager, leader, or as a colleague. It also applies to our closer inner circle of family or friends.

Quite often you may feel that you are being ignored when you are saying something. At work you may be speaking to colleagues but they are not paying attention. You may try to put forward an idea but nothing happens – then someone else comes out with something and their ideas are noticed and accepted. Later you may confide in a friend that you were ignored although you may be feeling that your proposal had more weight in it.

What we need to remember is that – the ‘way’ we talk to people is what makes an impact on whether they listen to us or their mind just wanders off. Some tips which will help you to become a more effective communicator and develop the ability to be heard are given below :

  • BUILD A RAPPORT: Relationship building is important in all walks of life. Those with whom you have a positive affinity are more likely to listen to you and value what you are saying. Rapport is one of the most important characteristics of human interaction. With a positive rapport your colleagues are more likely to open their unconscious mind to listen to you and accept your suggestions.
  • EYE CONTACT: Maintaining a good eye contact when you are talking to another person or group helps to keep them engaged. IT also helps to build and uphold the human connection. When you keep eye contact with the person or group you are talking to, it is a sign that you are focused and are also paying attention to them. It means that you are actually listening to what the other person has to say. The major reason to get ignored is when you do not make eye contact.
  • BE CONFIDENT: Be sure of yourself and what you are about to say, as that will have an impact on your level of confidence and also how you interact with others. If you are confident and know what you are talking about, you will speak with clarity and concisely. Not only that, people who communicate with confidence also convey what they want to say to friends, co-workers and clients in a clear and efficient manner.
  • TONE OF VOICE: The quality of your communication depends a lot on the vocal tone and also volume. It is not only what you say but also the way in which you say it, that makes an impression on those who are hearing you. Having more volume and a slow, clear pace of talking is what draws and holds attention. These are important qualities to focus on, as speaking in a low tone and quickly so people cannot hear or understand you, are seen as a sign of lack of conviction and confidence.
  • BE SPECIFIC: When giving your opinion or talking about the topic under discussion, be precise and relevant. Quote specific examples or mention specific incidents so that there is clarity on what you are saying. The clearer and more explicit you are, the more likely you are to gain attention and get what you want.
  • BE AWARE OF OTHERS PERCEPTIONS: If you are known to be a quiet, unobtrusive person others maybe in the habit of ignoring you. If you suddenly start to be more assertive you may still not get much attention. So you will have to work on it so that the perception changes. It might be advisable to start on one to one communication to also build your own confidence level and then move on to larger groups.

It’s good to know there are very specific and effective ways to construct a communication so that it goes well and both parties in the conversation feel respected and understood. Even if there is not complete agreement developing positive communication skills helps a person to interact and converse effectively, one-to-one and in a group.

Some other key communication tips:

  • Try to avoid using negative words eg. ‘but’ and ‘however’, as these tend to invalidate anything you said and can also spoil a good point that you may be trying to make. Instead, focus on using more comprehensive and all-encompassing words like ‘and’ or ‘at the same time’ to get a more positive response.
  • If tensions are running high, its difficult focus on what one is saying and it can be hard to state your case in a proper manner. So first try to defuse the situation so the person or team is calm and willing to listen to your point of view. By doing so you will create an atmosphere of success.
  • Always build a rapport by using a friendly tone and having an open and smiling face. This will always encourage others to engage with you and is very important in face to face communication, whether one-to one or when addressing a group.
  • Sometimes a communication does not go the way you wanted it to. Don’t be discouraged and be open to listening and understanding the other persons view. If required enter into a dialogue and try to get your message across. This will result in a more straightforward conversation which is more productive for both parties. The end will be positive and satisfying.

As you identify areas of improvement and focus on developing your talking skills you will be pleasantly surprised at the improved outcome of your conversations as well.

Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
Benjamin Franklin

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