Do you ever feel like you are saying the same things over and over to people? Do you feel like they don’t understand what you are trying to say? Do you feel like they are ignoring you when they are on their phone or doing other things while you are talking? Are you listening to me?
You are not alone. Most of us feel like there are times when our communication is lost in translation. We often become frustrated and begin raising our voices, like “hearing” and volume was the problem. The reality is that raising our voices often commands attention although it is often accompanied by irritation and subsequently arguing.
So how to we get people to listen to us? The most important thing actually starts with you. You need to develop the skill of listening. Paying close attention to someone lowers their social anxiety and makes them more open minded. It creates as space of psychological safety and individuals can begin to notice contradictions in their own assertions to others. Additionally, people often begin to tolerate contradictory thoughts and emotions from others. They begin to hold less extreme and firm opinions which is the hallmark of being open to other ideas.
Additional helpful strategies include avoiding distractions like cell phones and showing empathy and other relevant emotions with non verbal cues like smiling and head nodding.
A final thought to consider is reading the environment to determine if this is the best time and place for the discussion. It is better to postpone a weighty talk to a time when you can give your full attention.
Stephanie Phillips, LCMHC, NCC, CCTP
Psychotherapist & Owner
The Mindly Group, PLLC