Getting people to listen nowadays seems to be an Olympic feat in itself. With social media, it feels like everyone's attention span has gotten shorter and no one is taking the time to truly listen. But instead of feeling disrespected, there are ways to get people to listen to you (besides throwing a tamper tantrum, of course).
Do you remember the last time you had a conversation with someone without that person looking at their phone every five minutes? Probably not. If you're anything like me, you might miss the days where you could hang at a friend's house and chat for hours without being distracted by notifications or shiny objects. So why is it so hard to keep someone's attention when you're speaking? While being a better listener is vital to keep a conversation going, knowing how to maintain someone's attention by being a good communicator is just as important. According to LinkedIn, motivational speaker and author Deepak Chopra mentioned that there are plenty of reasons why someone might not be listening to you: It could be because they're distracted, not interested, or maybe you're talking to them at the wrong time.
If you feel like you keep on running into this communication problem, and you want to find a solution, below are a few tips on how to make sure other's are listening to you.
1. Talk Loud & Clear
The way you speak might have a lot to do with why people are not paying attention to you. Even though the words you say are pretty darn important, the tone and volume of your voice are vital to keeping someone's attention. According to LIVESTRONG, try to talk with your natural voice and practice speaking quickly. Why quickly? Well, doing this keeps your lips and tongue flexible, which usually prevents mumbling. Also, try to refrain from using phrases like "um" or "uh" while you speak. The person listening can get distracted by those unnecessary words and may even tune out what you're talking about.
2. Be Concise With Your Points
Have you ever tried explaining something to someone, but you got so hung up on the details that you lost track of what you were talking about? While it can be frustrating, it's probably even more upsetting when you notice the person you were chatting with stopped paying attention to what you were saying, entirely. The solution? Try to be more concise with your words. According to Forbes, take a moment to think about how you want to simplify your message. Can you explain it in under 10 minutes? Are you choosing the right words to convey your message? While there's nothing wrong with telling a compelling story with plenty of details, focusing on the big picture instead of the smaller points (like exactly what time you went to the store) may help your audience focus on what you're saying.
3. Double Check Your Body Language
What do Wonder Woman and Beyoncé have in common? They make sure their body language is on point. Think about it: Have you ever seen Beyoncé slouch? The answer is probably no. In general, the way you choose to physically present yourself is just as important as to how you verbally communicate with others.
Using power poses may not only influence how people view you, but it can also change how you feel about yourself. For example, social psychologist Amy Neuzil explained in her TED Talk that when you stand in a high power pose for at least two minutes, you may not only feel more confident, but your testosterone hormone rises and your cortisol (stress) levels drop. Standing in a powerful pose may also make you speak more confidently, which may allow others to pay attention to what you're saying.
4. Be Confident When You Speak
Speaking confidently is usually a good way to keep someone's attention when you're discussing your ideas. And just like the point I've talked about before, it's all about how you decide to deliver your message. Dan Wendler, author of Improve Your Social Skills, said, "Confidence refers to the tone you use when you don't have authority over someone, but you still want to inspire respect." If you strongly believe in what you're talking about, your audience may feel more inclined to pay attention.
5. Try To Match Your Listener's Communication Style
When someone is interested in another person, they tend to mimic their communication style. What exactly does that mean? Well, they tend to mirror the other individual's moves and words: They may cross their arms at the same time or change their tone to match the other person's voice. This unconscious act is a great trick to use to get people to listen to you. According to Oprah.com, Tony Alessandra, PhD, said, "Some people respond to emotion and storytelling, while others need you to get to the point." The next time you're chatting with someone and they normally speak faster than you, it might be a good idea to mimic how they talk so you can keep their attention.
6. Listen To The Other Person When They Speak
If you want people to listen, the right thing to do would be to tune in when someone is talking to you. According to Fast Company, Art Markman, PhD, said, "Many listening problems emerge from the way most of us think about conversations. The structure of a conversation seems obvious. One person speaks. Then, another one picks up the thread of the discussion, and the different people contribute their thoughts." But according to Markman, that's not the case. Instead of trying to occupy your mind with the next thing you're going to say while your friend is talking, try to fully comprehend what he/she is saying by putting yourself in a thinking mindset rather than a doing mindset. By accomplishing this, your friend may take notice on how interested you are, and may return the favor to you when you speak.
Keeping someone's attention while you're talking can be really difficult nowadays, but if you change your body language to be more confident or copy the communication style of who you're talking to, the person may be more inclined to listen to what you have to say and give you the respect you deserve.
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