Think about a time in your life where you really wanted someone to listen to what you had to say. Now, remember if that individual was fully available to you. Did this person stop and pay attention to you, or was she doing something else at the same time, like looking at her cell phone? I ask this because I have heard from my clients, friends and family members time and again: “X does not listen to me. It feels like I am talking to a wall.”
Let’s go back a little and understand where that complaint is coming from. First, we were all children once, and as a child, we each found a way to get our parents or adult figures to pay attention to us. I am certain you heard a version of “He is just doing that to get attention. Do not pay him any.” If that was verbalized toward you, the feeling of being ignored might have left emotional scars or, in some cases, deep traumas. It might trigger, to this day, sentiments of neglect, abandonment and not being enough. For now, I just want you to become aware if such emotions pop up when you look back.
Now, fast forward to the present day: Do you have difficulty getting others to listen to you? Is it hard to get somebody to pay attention to what you have to say?
There are outstanding speakers who seem to have the command of a room even before they open their mouths. These individuals enjoy a commonality among them: they know their audience down to a T. They are also aware that their accuracy will make people stop and listen.
Do they possess a superpower? Why does it seem so hard at times to get our message through to another? The answer to the first question is: they practiced – a whole lot. The second inquiry can be best surmised by simply knowing your audience and their mindset.
Are they willing to have a dialogue? That should be the number one question to ask yourself. There are plenty of people whose only motivation in life seems to be contrarian, to be toxic to everyone around them, and spread negativity and conflict wherever they go. Let me say what you probably already know: Steer clear of these human beings.
When someone is unwilling to have a dialogue, not prepared to see an issue from a different perspective or not open to learn anything about themselves from a situation, it is best to leave it alone. It will be a waste of your time and effort. Said individuals already have their ears shut. You do not win by meeting any kind of negativity head-on. It will just lead to fighting, bickering and the feeling of doing something in vain.
Your energy is better served by reaching out to those who are willing and capable of reason instead. You do not need the validation coming from negative voices to make you whole. As a matter of fact, be willing to let go of these people. Loving yourself is the greatest power. People can change their communication by merely changing their attitude about themselves – and have others stop and listen to them in the process.
Eric Faria is a Communication & Synergy Specialist, Podcaster, Speaker and Columnist. He produces and hosts the TV Show I AM with Eric Faria, available on YouTube. The show is also a podcast on Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud. To contact him, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.