These may be some of the reasons people tune you out when you speak at work
Do you feel like people sometimes don’t listen to you at work? It can be extremely frustrating to try and get your ideas or opinions across only to be met with a blank stare with no idea of the reasons people tune you out. You know they are aware you are standing there. Sometimes the problem is the way we deliver the idea or opinion. We’re all guilty of not listening at one point or another in our lives. We tune others out while we’re busy, concentrating on a task or when we are reading. Though we try hard to multi-task between tasks we are not always able to listen to someone who’s trying to talk to us.
The demands of today’s fast-paced and challenging workplace means that we need to communicate quickly and succinctly. If people’s eyes are glazing over when you speak, you may be guilty of one of these reasons people tune you out:
- Relevance. People are generally only interested in whether what we have to say has a bearing on what they are currently busy with. We live in the “what’s in it for me” age. Before we start, it is important to take a moment to consider why we are speaking and why to this person.
- Going on too long. Life is short and time is money, so make your point speedily. As Thomas Jefferson said: “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
- Going over well-treaded ground. If we preface statements with “as so-and-so said” and then add our two cents worth, it’s been said already. Before speaking, consider whether what we say is adding to the conversation or just recapping.
- Being oblivious. Workplace information is dynamic and often comes from multiple sources. If we are not up to speed, we have little chance of being heard. Be in the know before saying anything.
- Our minds are elsewhere. It is obvious when we are preoccupied with something else (an upcoming meeting or what we need to do after work). If we truly can’t focus on the conversation at hand, explain why and reschedule.
- Not speaking clearly. If we have a strong accent or naturally speak softly, people are usually too polite to say that they cannot hear us. If people can’t hear us, they can’t listen to us.
- Talking too fast. We do not make our points any faster if we cram too many words into a short period of time. We tend to come off as nervous, impatient or wired on coffee. Slow down so that people can understand you.
- Lack of credibility. Our reputations are one of our most valuable assets. If we have no credibility people will discount what we say and not listen. Make sure you walk your talk.
- Always arguing our point. Holding strong views is perfectly fine, but if we become combative and argue every point people will soon start avoiding conversations with us. Practise tact and listen more than you speak.
- Failing to stay on topic. Sometimes our challenges and opinions leak out when we are speaking about something else. People switch off when you climb on a different hobby horse, so stick to the subject.
Awareness of the reasons people tune you out at work itself is not always enough. We all need to practice effective listening skills. Actual listening instead of just waiting to speak. Being present in the moment when a person is talking can be a very rewarding experience, and often can enhance an existing relationship.
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