How do you react if you aren’t being listened to?

If you follow my articles, you’ll have heard me speaking about listening skills. The art of listening is key for good communication.

However today I want to talk about what happens when the other person doesn’t appear to be listening to you! It can really throw your confidence and affect your ability to deliver your message.

I’ve been working with a couple of clients who want to be heard more at work; one told me they presented on a Zoom call where a colleague appeared not to be listening to them. Throughout they seemed to be speaking to someone off camera or looking to their left … and their presentation suffered.

Another client had attended their first face-to-face networking event for a while and was annoyed by a new connection seemingly looking anywhere but at them as they spoke. My client made her excuses and left.

In both situations my advice is … don’t take it personally!

You may not be their focus right now … not because they aren’t interested but because something else is taking their attention. The person looking off screen may have had a minor disaster unfolding around them (particularly if they were at home). The new connection with “networker’s neck” might be waiting for their partner, colleague or lift. It may come as a shock, but invariably you are not the centre of anyone else’s world!

And if you can, don’t be afraid to ask them if everything’s OK as they seem distracted, or if there’s something else on their mind. It’s not always possible, but in the case of the face-to-face conversation easier to do and it might open up the conversation, build rapport and your future relationship.

Are you occasionally guilty of assuming that you caused the other person’s inattention? Take the pressure off yourself and unless everyone looks bored, assume it’s them not you.

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One Response to How do you react if you aren’t being listened to?

  1. Peter Henry 5th August 2021 at 11:36 am #

    In any communication if is essential that you consider ‘what’s in it for them’ the listener. If they have asked for some information then you are on pretty safe ground. However, if, especially in a networking situation, you have launched off about yourself with asking about them first, then what you have to say may well fail the test of having anything in it for them. Very few people will stop you in your tracks but why should they attend fully!

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