Image credit: Kendyle Nelsen| Unsplash Image

Picture this. Imagine yourself in a classroom or a job setting where you are speaking to someone with authority. You have a great idea and they hear you, but are they actually listening to you.  In your head, you’re probably thinking about the iconic Charlie Brown teacher voice, “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah…” Annoying, right?  Like, what do you have to say to actually get their attention?  If they choose not to listen, then that’s definitely their loss; however, if there’s a window of opportunity to connect with someone that wants to understand and read your lips, here’s a helpful guide to sitting them down for the perfect coffee chat.

Step Into My Shoes

Perspective is everything. Provide a narrative and get someone to understand what’s it’s like to walk a day of life in your world. Painting a scene will provide them with a visual, so they are receptive to your words. If you’re nervous about trying to communicate how you feel, bring pictures that convey your story. According to Hubspot, when people hear information, they will  more than likely only remember 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later (source).

What’s Their Story?

Let’s face it, it’s hard when someone is not listening to you. Those not so happy thoughts come to mind, and that’s normal. The best advice in dealing with this situation is to learn about their story. Understanding the whole situation before jumping to conclusions will help you to understand who they are as a person. It’s difficult, but letting down the veil of emotions and getting to the core of the situation will often prove better than expected.

Finish Line Steps

Just because we had one conversation, doesn’t mean you’re cured overnight. A band-aid solution just doesn’t cut it anymore. As a leader, you will come into scenarios where you are tested. The best solution is to combat your new understanding with positive reinforcement. Be transparent with your team and show them that you’re working on being great. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

#readmylips is more than just watching one another, it’s about listening. It goes beyond gender and stereotypes. Everyone deserves to be heard and seen, and it starts with a simple action called “listening.”