Does it feel like nobody is listening to you at work?
The truth is, sometimes people don’t. Meaningful conversations never happen, great ideas go by the wayside, and people who do great things get overlooked and ignored. It is hard to even want to express ourselves when we feel like we’re talking to a brick wall.
It could be you, or it could be them. Either way, if you’re talking and no one is listening, you can take your power back. Here’s what you can do if you feel like nobody is listening to you.
Ask Someone to Speak Up for You
We all know our strengths and weaknesses, and there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Enlisting an advocate or an ambassador is a solid strategy when you’re trying your hardest to make a point and running into trouble.
Having an advocate can change the whole ballgame. They can champion your cause when you feel like you can’t advocate by yourself. And they can improve others’ perception of you when you think you’re not truly expressing yourself.
Finding the right advocate or ambassador might feel complicated. But, in most cases, all you have to do is ask. People are not going to just assume you need help voicing concerns or ideas. You may just be surprised at who will step up when you ask.
Say It a Different Way
Our delivery can make us and break us in any given situation. You need to ask yourself a few questions to better understand why you feel like nobody is listening to you.
We all suffer a little with clarity. It is easy to start rambling when we get excited about an idea or feel like we have a lot to explain. However, people grow confused when you lack direction, and confusion will shut down their ability to listen.
Outline your purpose and how you want to attain it. If that means practicing in front of a mirror, go for it. It is better to overprepare than not prepare enough. You don’t want to talk super-fast or take too long of a pause. You want someone to listen actively; you deserve someone to listen actively.
Another barrier to getting people to listen is your body language. Posture, facial expressions and hand gestures all factor into listening. You have to find a balance between showing too much and not showing enough. When you are practicing, it helps to use the mirror to gauge your facial expressions. Your expressions help others see your passion and how comfortable you are with what you’re saying.
Act on Your Ideas
The first thing you need to know is that your ideas have value. Yes, it feels daunting to turn that daydream or epiphany into reality. But when you act on your ideas, they do become a reality.
Share your idea or concept with someone you trust. It helps if they have no bias, but even if they do, they can still give you valuable feedback.
Commit to your idea. It is yours, and it deserves your time. Don’t let someone else tell you it isn’t worth your time and energy.
Part of committing is making a plan. Create a road map. Utilize a whiteboard. It is OK to change your plan midway through or even at the end. Humans learn through trial and error. And failure only means we learn better ways to get our ideas out there.
Lastly, again, ask for help. When you surround yourself with people who respect you and value your ideas and thoughts, they will help you succeed, and if you fail, they also fail. It is powerful to have allies and advocates who lift you up when you feel embarrassed or like a failure.
Invest Your Energy Elsewhere
We all have a limited amount of energy. It is up to us to decide what is worth that energy and what isn’t. When others are not listening, regardless of how hard you try, it comes to a point where it isn’t worth the energy spent on trying to make someone else understand and value your ideas.
It is healthy to track your energy. Misspending energy on things that are not helping you reach your life goals will leave your tank empty. Instead, understand where to put your energy and when to walk away from the things that eat away at it — and you.
Someone else is waiting for you to be brilliant. Find that person or company.
If you’re still struggling to feel heard, here are my other ideas for effective communication:
- Stop talking. It’s OK to go quiet when you’re not being heard.
- Write it out. Perhaps you need to revise your message or choose different words.
- Talk to a new audience. Find someone with a fresh outlook and ask for an unbiased opinion.
- Find a mentor. You’re not alone in this world. Plenty of people would love to help.
- Read the room. Understand the political environment in which you operate.
- Take a break. Maybe nobody is listening because the time isn’t right.