This is the first in a series on how to get people to listen to you. You may find that although you have greet ideas and are full of enthusiasm and knowledge, that no one listens to you. You can get people to listen if you play your cards right. Today we’ll talk about earning the right to state your case.
There is a very good parable that says it is better to sit at the end of the table and be asked to move up to the front by the host, rather than taking the seat of honor, only to be asked to vacate it. I’m sure you are well intentioned and that your ideas are valuable. You may even be the only one in the room with the right answer. However, that does not automatically give you the right, and it is a right, to spout off your opinion.
It may be your first day in an organization, or perhaps the first time you’re invited to an important meeting. You want to make a good impression and look for the opportunity to show off your stuff. There it is, the pregnant pause in the conversation and you dive in and lay your brilliant idea on the table… only to have it dismissed with a wave of a hand. What just happened? Before people will listen to you, you must gain their respect. This takes time. If people aren’t listening to you, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why should people, specifically – the group you are dealing with, listen to you?
- How did you earn the right to give your opinion?
- Are you in a position of authority to offer advice?
- Are you a proven subject matter expert?
Too many times, I hear people complain that no one will listen to them. Yet they never take the time to build up their credibility. They don’t understand that a supervisor, manager or executive earned the right to be heard.
If you aren’t being heard, you must develop your credibility. Here are some ideas on how to accomplish this.
- Get placed in a position of authority through a promotion, or if that is not possible, try to get them to designate you as a project leader or coordinator.
- Become a subject matter expert by taking classes on your own, getting a certificate, or attending training provided by your organization.
- Understand that meetings start well before the actual meeting. If you have something important to say, start off by running it by someone in a position of authority, and have them invite you to give your opinion during the meeting. That adds credibility when someone asks for your input, rather than you just blurting it out uninvited.
All the best!
All the time!