How often have you felt dismissed after expressing your idea or opinion?
How many times have you articulated a great idea in a meeting, only to hear someone else pick it up and receive all the accolades?
How does it feel to summon the courage to speak up about what you need, only to feel you have been misunderstood?
None of these situations are pleasant.
Many are puzzling.
Some are hurtful.
Ready to stop feeling dismissed?
Ready to communicate in a way that allows you not only to be heard, but understood?
I thought so!
Imagine having a conversation with someone important, on a subject that is critical to you. You pour your heart into having a conversation that highlights an important topic, only to feel the other person is not really engaged.
Frustrating, isn’t it? It makes you feel “less than”, insignificant, and dismissed.
What if I told you it could have absolutely nothing to do with you? Yep, that’s right – it may have ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with you.
Some people come from a place of insecurity, or being too busy, or being self-absorbed, and perhaps interested only in those who can advance their standing. None of their feelings/behaviors are a reflection of you. It becomes your problem when you can’t get through to them or get their attention long enough to put what you want to communicate on the table.
[Tweet “When others dismiss you, it could be due to their own insecurity.”]
Want some tips and tricks to help you not only be HEARD, but UNDERSTOOD? Well, here goes:
- Take time to prepare not only “what” you want to say, but “how”. Not everyone listens to and hears messages the same way. Take what you know about that person to craft not only what you will say, how you will say it, and the timing of your interaction. The success of being both heard and understood increase dramatically when you are prepared.
- Consider your tone of voice and tone of delivery of your message. They may not seem different, but they are. Your tone of voice can sound frantic, rushed, or even too calm. You want a tone of voice that fits the situation and the message being delivered. Your tone of delivery is a different strategy. Think about how you want the other person to feel as you deliver your message. You may want them to feel you are being helpful, but if your tone of delivery is off, you may come off as critical. You may want them to feel you are contributing an important perspective from your experience, but you may come off as a “know it all”.
[Tweet “Did you know there is not only a tone of voice, but also a tone of delivery with each message?”]
- If this is someone with whom you communicate regularly, think about what style of communication has worked well and what style triggers a negative response. It is helpful to frame your message based on historic background information. I used to try to “sell” some concepts and was met with resistance each time. When I stepped back and thought about the known “triggers” of my audience, I adjusted my message and my “ask” until I got a “yes”. This strategy takes some introspective thought and may feel a bit manipulative to some, but this is a critical part of negotiation.
- STAND YOUR GROUND:
- When someone doesn’t want to hear what you have to say, there can be any number of reasons. They will deploy a range of tactics to shut you down, to make you feel inadequate, or to misconstrue your intent or message. It is important to do what you have to do to be heard, even if you have to interrupt them to make it happen. Many of us are too polite and will wait for someone to finish before we speak up. A lot of damage can happen while we wait for them to finish. Interrupt if you have to. Use phrases to help clarify your message, such as “unfortunately, that was not the point I was trying to make….”, and then clarify your point.
- SEEK UNDERSTANDING WHILE OFFERING UNDERSTANDING:
- There is a lot of power in someone hearing their own words played back to them. Conversations are a two-way street. If you can play back what you heard to someone and allow them to offer clarifications or other comments, you open the door for them to do the same for you. You can use phrases, such as “This is what I heard from you, is that correct?”, and allow them to say “yes” before you move on. If they say “no”, then ask them to provide clarification. You can then provide your own message in a receptive environment. If they don’t offer you the same “replay”, you can ask something like “Can you tell me how that resonated with you?”. Leave your question open-ended so you get more feedback and know what you might need to clarify to be fully understood.
[Tweet “When you are seeking understanding, it helps to offer understanding.”]
- SKIP THE STORIES:
- In this rushed world of ours, you may not have the luxury of the time needed to fully be heard and understood in an extended back and forth manner. In this case, use your time wisely. Skip the stories and cut to the chase. Have your message crafted in a concise, clear, and meaningful way. Make sure you get all of your most important points communicated. Don’t leave anything on the table that should be part of your message.
You can certainly deploy all of these strategies on your own, but once you begin, you may feel you need a guide. That’s where I come in. I’m a Leadership and Business Mentor who has guided so many through their own journeys. It’s my “Big Why”……..
If you are feeling less than confident in this area of your life or business, it may be associated with how aligned you feel with your own values and whether you are doing something that really fits you. If you are interested in seeing where you are in terms of those dimensions, my free quiz may give you some valuable insights. You can click below to take the quiz and you will receive your results in your inbox along with some information about where you are doing well and where there might be some room for personal growth. The results can help you define your new life vision and it only takes about 4 minutes.
Tina Meilleur is a Leadership and Business Mentor, author and speaker. She is also the founder of Design Your Success and the Academy for Business Success. Her mission is helping high achievers match their desires, skills and experiences with success on their terms. Her “Next Chapter” program and CRAVE™ process are systematic approaches for making simple “tweaks” or orchestrating a total reinvention. Tina is the author of Your Next Chapter: Five Steps to Creating the Life of Your Dreams to help others build anything they want into their life. Tina has a CPA designation in the State of Louisiana and received her MBA from Tulane University in their Executive MBA program. Tina is a highly sought-after mentor, coach, facilitator, and speaker. She can be reached at Tina@DesignYourSuccess.com.