Do you sometimes feel like you talk and you talk and nobody hears what you are saying? Do you find yourself saying the same things over and over again, just trying to be understood? It doesn’t have to be this way.
Being heard, and listening, are keys to a happy life.
In this article I will tell you the 5 ways to really be heard. They are simple, effective and easy to implement.
#1 – Use as few words as possible.
You know the kind of person. Someone who goes on and on, trying to make a point, and somewhere along the way you lose interest. The experts say the most effective way of being heard is to use 15 words or less. Your word count doesn’t have to be precise but using as few words as possible to communicate your thoughts is the best way to go.
#2 – Do not attack.
Our inclination, when we feel we have been wronged, is to go on the offensive. When someone doesn’t return your phone call you say “Why didn’t you return my call? That was very rude.” This tone immediately puts someone on the defensive and won’t lead anywhere good. Try instead “I was very disappointed when you didn’t return my phone call. I was hoping to talk to you about….” This tact lets someone know how you are feeling. And they can’t get defensive about how you are feeling. And it makes them realize that their actions affect others.
#3 – Be thoughtful with your timing.
The best time to be heard is not in the middle of a stressful situation or an all out argument. The best time to be heard is when you are relaxed and calm. One of my clients has a mother who always calls while she is busy making dinner. She could have loudly exclaimed during one of her phone calls “Mom, why do you always call at dinner? It’s a crazy time of day!” Instead she called her mother one morning after she got the kids off to school and said the same thing, calmly. Her mother heard her and started calling mid-morning instead.
#4 – Make sure you listen.
Sure, if you follow the approach given above, it’s easy to say what you want to say. It’s very important, however, to listen carefully to how you are being answered. To finish the circle, to really be heard, you need to understand where the other person is coming from. If you both truly listen, your conversation will be an effective one.
#5 – Eye Contact.
This is one of the most important parts of truly being heard. By making eye contact with someone you are demonstrating that you believe in what you are saying, that you are confident. It also signals to the other person that what you are saying is important and that you want them to truly hear you.
Being heard is so essential to being happy.
Try these techniques out on a friend, with a topic that isn’t very difficult. Practice it with your children. You will see how effective it is the more you use it.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.