Nobody listening

If you’re frustrated that what you’re asking others to do isn’t happening, you might start by finding out whether anyone is listening.

You won’t have listeners if you make requests of people when they’re overwhelmed by other priorities.

You won’t have listeners if you ask people by sending out emails and hoping they get read. Whole organisations are run this way, but we all have more than enough emails already, so it’s no wonder you’re finding it difficult to make things happen.

You won’t have a listener if you make a request that makes sense to you but doesn’t address concerns that are important in my world.

In each case you’re asking, but you haven’t taken responsibility for having a listener who’s able to hear you. And it is your responsibility.

Perhaps you’re doing this on purpose: after all if you can’t be heard or understood you can blame others for their inattentiveness and unreliability. And you won’t have to face the perhaps difficult consequences of what you’ve asked for actually happening. None of this will get you any closer to what matters to you.

If you really want people to take seriously what you’re asking, you’re going to have to work to enrol them. And that means understanding them deeply enough to know what’s important to them, and speaking in a way that can be heard and understood. This is what it takes to have a listener who both wants and is able to hear you. And only then will you start to see your requests produce the results you deserve.

Photo: by Aussiegall at flickr.com