This new article will show you everything you need to know about how to be heard when you speak.
It can often be a challenging task to feel like your opinions and thoughts are being acknowledged, whether in a professional meeting, a private conversation with a partner, or simply in everyday life. This issue is specially relevant for ladies, who may face the added burden of being perceived as “bossy” or “arrogant” when they assert themselves. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for making sure that other people will listen to you, there are several strategies you can use to increase the likelihood of being heard.
How to Be Heard When You Speak:
1. Consider visualizing your desired outcome.
Before engaging in conversation with someone, it can be helpful to define what “being heard” means to you and what it entails. In this way, you’ll have the ability to recognize when you have achieved your goal.
For example, if you wanted to increase your visibility at work, how would that benefit you? Does that mean expressing more of your thoughts and suggestions? Asking for something you previously hesitated to ask for? Or maybe something else fully?
Breaking a lofty goal like “to be heard” into smaller, more achievable targets can even help you achieve success.
2. Develop assertive communication skills.
Some people avoid being assertive for fear of appearing arrogant. However, assertive communication requires expressing your thoughts and needs while also respecting the other person. It’s about being cooperative, not overbearing, and direct without being insulting. You can practice the following assertiveness techniques to improve your communication with others:
Use “I” statements to communicate your feelings and thoughts directly without sounding accusatory. For example, if your partner keeps forgetting about your date nights, you might express how you feel by stating, “I feel hurt when you forget about our date nights because I don’t feel like you prioritize me.” You could then invite them to respond by asking, “Can we discuss this?” or “What happened?”
Say “no” when necessary. It can be hard for some people to turn down requests, but it is vital to realize that agreeing to things you do not actually want to do is not a sign of politeness. Consider taking some time before making a decision and reminding others of other obligations or commitments. For example, you could say, “Usually I’d love to help you, but I’ve had a rough week and need time to recharge myself.” Remember that you even have a responsibility to yourself.
Be as precise as possible. Sometimes, you may not feel heard because your message is not communicated clearly enough for others to understand. If you want your kids to come home for the vacations, rather than an indirect approach like “Wouldn’t it be great if we could all spend Christmas together?”, try something like “It’s really important to me that we all be together for Christmas. I want you to make the effort.” to come in. This way, you communicate your needs clearly and sincerely without being pushy or pushy. While you cannot control how the other person responds to your message, you can do your part by being clear.
Apologize, if necessary, but avoid over-apologizing. Take responsibility when you make mistakes and plan to do better in the future. However, too many apologies can make you seem insecure. Keep your apologies sincere, direct, and to the point.
3. Prepare in advance by practicing assertive communication techniques.
This is particularly helpful if you’re new to assertiveness and find it intimidating. You can practice alone or with friends, and there is no need to memorize scripts. The goal is to feel more confident about how you’ll say things and how to respond to possible challenges.
Confidence is key to being heard, particularly in a professional setting. You can practice in front of a mirror and make eye contact to show confidence.
If you have self-doubt, encourage yourself or take steps to overcome it, such as washing your face or wearing nice clothes. It’s also useful for recording yourself and analyzing your delivery, because how you say something can be just as important as what you say.
4. Your body language can communicate a lot about your confidence and assertiveness.
When you present yourself with confidence, others are more likely to perceive you as such and take your contributions seriously. On the other hand, if your body language is hesitant or uncertain, other people may not be as interested in what you must say.
To project confidence, it is vital to claim your physical space by sitting or standing with your feet firmly on the ground and keeping your body open. Avoid crossing your arms or legs, holding your bag in front of you, or putting your hands in your pockets.
Plant yourself where you are and avoid shifting weight or swaying. Making eye contact is also important for effective communication. Aim to maintain eye contact 50% of the time you are talking and 70% of the time you are listening, holding it for 4-5 seconds at a time.
5. Watch how you communicate.
Your linguistic style, which includes factors such as pitch, pace, volume, and word choice, can influence whether or not people will listen to you. Talking too fast or too slow can even have a negative impact on how others perceive you. It’s important to find a gradual pace that’s snug for you and straightforward for others to understand.
Cultural and social differences can even affect communication. For example, people from different regions may have different speaking styles and speeds, which can lead to misunderstandings. In addition, men and girls tend to focus on different linguistic rituals. Men may focus on directness and status, whereas women may focus on relationships and relationship building.
To improve your communication skills, observe and learn from great speakers like Martin Luther King Jr., Garrison Keillor and Barack Obama. These speakers have different styles of speech but are very effective in getting their message across. You can even watch speeches or shows on YouTube to develop your own communication skills.
6. Explore alternative routes to express yourself if you’re uncomfortable with face-to-face communication, even after practicing.
In today’s digital age, there are various ways to share thoughts and opinions. You can start a blog, share your writing on social media, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or even keep a personal journal. The critical point is expressing your ideas and feelings.
7. Develop active listening skills to improve communication.
Active listening is essential to make sure that you are understood by others. In turn, when people feel heard, they’re more likely to listen to you. Here are some techniques you can use to improve your active listening skills:
Eliminate distractions. Focus your attention on the person talking to you by putting down your cellular phone or other electronic device and avoiding looking around the room.
Looking for clarification. Ask for clarification if you are not sure what someone is saying. For example, you could say, “I thought you meant it _. Is that true?” This helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures that you understand the other person’s message.
Summarizing. Summarizing the key points of the conversation helps ensure that everyone is on the same page. At the end of the meeting or conversation, try to summarize the main points and ask if anyone else has anything to add.
Use encouragement. Nodding, saying “uh-huh,” and asking open-ended questions are all examples of encouragement that show you’re engaged in conversation.
Avoid preparing your response. Instead of thinking about what you want to say next, focus on understanding what the other person is saying. This helps you respond wisely and avoid misunderstandings.
8. It’s important to adapt your communication style to your audience if you want to be heard, especially in a professional setting.
When you’re trying to get your message across, take some time to consider who you’re going to talk to.
Think about how they communicate. Do they tend to speak quickly and jump from one idea to the next? Or do they speak more carefully, taking time to consider each point?
Adjust your own speaking speed to match their listening pace. If you talk too fast to someone who prefers a slower pace, they may shut down and ignore you, even if your idea is valuable. Adapt your communication style to your audience (1) can make a big difference in how well your message is received.
9. Knowing your colleagues is essential to communicating effectively with them.
It’s important to adapt your communication style to their level and interests in order to be heard. This involves finding out what topics they care about and what they value. You can read their blogs or articles to get insight into their ideas.
Observing how they speak in meetings and office interactions can also help you understand how to make your voice heard. Cultural differences can also play a role in communication styles, so it’s important to be aware of them.
For example, the workplace culture in China may differ significantly from Canada. Understanding what works and what doesn’t in your workplace and with your colleagues can help you be heard more effectively.
10. Using language that belittles the value of your ideas can damage your communication, even if it’s unintentional.
Apologizing or self-deprecating language can make you appear unsure or insecure, which can lead others to doubt the value of your ideas. For example, if you say something like, “Sorry to bother you, but do you only have two minutes to listen to this idea of mine?” when someone passes you in the hall, they may not take your idea seriously.
Confidence is essential for convincing others, especially at work, that your ideas are worth listening to.
To communicate your ideas with confidence, use the assertive communication techniques discussed elsewhere in this article. Being assertive does not mean being pushy or arrogant. You can still acknowledge other people’s contributions and show that you value their time without compromising your ideas.
For example, you could say something like, “Hey, I have a great idea for that project. Do you have two minutes?” This acknowledges that the other person’s time is valuable without sounding apologetic or unsure of your idea.
11. Stay well informed so you don’t appear uninformed or ignorant during work meetings or discussions.
Before attending a meeting or discussion, be sure to familiarize yourself with the topics to be covered. Being prepared with a few topics and opinions ahead of time can help you express your ideas confidently and effectively, even if you tend to be more reserved. In this way, you can meaningfully contribute to the discussion and be heard.
12. When communicating your ideas or explaining work situations, it is important to choose a mode of expression that suits your strengths while keeping your audience in mind.
For example, if you are good at making presentations using PowerPoint, use it as your medium of communication. Keep in mind that people have different ways of learning and absorbing information, such as visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learning styles.
It might be helpful to test what kind of learners your colleagues or meeting attendees are like. Plus, using a variety of presentation styles can help ensure that everyone is involved and following along.
13. Being the first to speak up in a discussion can give you the advantage of being heard.
When you have an idea, try to contribute it early so you don’t get lost in the conversation. However, it’s important to be careful and not interfere if no one has asked for input.
Finding the right time can take some practice as different groups may have different norms around pauses in conversation. Keep track of group dynamics and experiment with different lengths of pause before contributing.
14. Asking questions can be a valuable tool to help you communicate your ideas effectively.
Sometimes, people get so caught up in presenting their own ideas that they forget to ask questions, which are just as important for understanding the issue at hand. By asking questions, you can gain clarity, identify problem areas, and encourage others to think about the problem in a different way.
For example, if your team is discussing how to increase productivity in the workplace, you might ask questions like: What specific areas are we working on to be efficient? What is the goal we want to achieve by increasing productivity? What strategies have worked in the past, and what haven’t?
It’s a good idea to have a few questions prepared beforehand, even if you don’t use them. This can help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you are asking relevant questions that will move the discussion forward.
15. Capture your audience’s attention and maintain their interest throughout your presentation.
It is important to use a clear and concise method for conveying your idea. Otherwise, your audience may lose interest or miss the point altogether. Using techniques such as compelling imagery, illustrative anecdotes, and references to past events can help keep people engaged.
Even if you’re speaking to a large group, maintaining eye contact throughout your presentation can make it feel more personal and keep your audience focused on what you’re saying.
16. Don’t expect others to ask your opinion, especially in work situations.
People may be too focused on presenting their own ideas and may assume that if you have something to say, you will speak up. To be heard, you must make a conscious effort to speak up and share your ideas.
It may take some time to get used to speaking, but with practice, you can improve. It’s important to note that this can be particularly challenging for women, who are often socialized to prioritize the needs of others over their own and may feel hesitant to assert themselves.
17. To ensure effective communication, it is important to choose the right time and place.
This is especially important when working on sensitive or difficult subjects. Avoid discussing the matter in public or in the presence of other people who may be affected.
For example, family gatherings are not the right time to fight with your partner. Also, it is very important to choose a time when both parties are calm and collected, as trying to communicate when emotions are running high can lead to misunderstandings and make it harder for the other person to hear you.
18. Have a general idea of what you want to communicate before starting the conversation.
This doesn’t mean writing a precise script, but rather having a clear understanding of the main points you want to make. This is especially helpful for those who may feel nervous or lack the confidence to speak face to face.
Plus, having a loose outline of what you want to say can help keep you on track during a conversation and ensure you cover all the important points. You can prepare yourself by asking yourself relevant questions like, “What solution would I like to propose?” or “Is there another approach I could consider?”
19. Determine if others will listen to you.
Even if you have chosen the right time and place, if the person is not receptive, what you say will not matter. You can observe their body language, which can say a lot about their mindset.
If they avoid eye contact, look away from you, or cross their arms, they may feel defensive or not want to listen. If they’re aggressive or angry, it can be difficult to get their attention. In such a situation, it’s best to disengage from the conversation as much as possible.
20. To make sure that you communicate effectively with someone, it is vital to pay attention to your own body language.
You want to avoid conveying the message that you’re closing the conversation, and instead, communicate that you’re open and receptive. If possible, sit next to the person you are talking to while keeping a snug distance.
Keep your tone of voice and body language neutral, avoiding crossing your arms or clenching your fists. By opening your chest and maintaining eye contact, you can better gauge the other person’s reaction and maintain rapport throughout the conversation.
21. Create a safe and open environment for discussion.
Avoid starting a conversation with accusations, as that can immediately turn the other person off and stop them from hearing you. Instead, approach the conversation as a shared question or request for help.
For example, you might start by saying “I have a problem and I was wondering if you could help me with it,” and then describe your situation. Alternatively, you can say “I’m feeling confused, and I would appreciate it if you could help me understand” before addressing the specifics of the issue at hand.
By setting the stage like this, you can encourage others to be more open and receptive to what you must say.
22. Express vulnerability rather than anger because anger often masks deeper feelings of fear or pain.
Expressing anger can kill communication rather than opening it. Expressing vulnerability can be challenging, but more likely to be heard. This means that you need to share your feelings in a tactful way, using “I” statements to explain why you feel hurt or upset.
23. Remember that communication is a two-way street, and being open to listening is just as important as being heard.
If you want someone to listen to you, you must be willing to listen to them too. This means being open to hearing things that might challenge your own beliefs or ideas about the situation. Active listening is key, so try to stay present and engaged in the conversation.
This includes making eye contact, avoiding distractions, and asking questions or summarizing what the other person has said to ensure that you understand their perspective correctly. Remember, the goal is to have a productive conversation and find a solution that works for both parties.
24. Developing your sense of humor can come in useful when having difficult conversations.
Engaging in serious discussions can be emotionally taxing, and approaching them with humor can help relieve tension and create a more open and relaxed atmosphere. When you inject humor into a conversation, it can help the other person feel more snug and receptive to what you must say.
On the other hand, if you approach a conversation with high emotions, it can make the other person feel attacked or defensive. So, try to approach the conversation with lightheartedness and interject humor when necessary.
25. Acknowledge that there are situations in which others may not want to listen.
Even if you follow all the right steps such as creating a conducive environment, communicating effectively, and managing your emotions, there may still be times when others aren’t ready or unwilling to listen to you. It’s important to realize that sometimes people have their own issues that stop them from being open to communication.
In cases where someone consistently refuses to listen to you, you may need to evaluate whether continuing the relationship is worth it. It’s important to prioritize your own emotional well-being (2) and do not proceed in a situation where your thoughts and feelings aren’t respected.
26. Consider whether what you are saying is critical or not.
You do not want to continuously talk and overwhelm others. Quality over quantity is the key. Sometimes, people just need someone to listen to them.
It is equally important to be a good listener and to provide support to others. Be sure to only speak up when you have something of value to contribute, that way others will be more willing to listen to you.
27. Know when to speak up.
No need to talk all the time or to everybody. Different situations require different levels of acceptance of conversation, so it is vital to pay attention to when and where to speak if you want to be heard.
For example, someone who’s trying to sleep during a long night flight may not be the best audience for a deep conversation, while someone who’s standing in line with you at a concert might be more open to conversation. Likewise, someone who is wearing headphones and daydreaming on the bus may not have an interest in hearing about your latest business venture.
It’s also important to recognize when the other person might be overwhelmed or lose interest in the conversation. If you have been talking for a long time without pausing, it may be time to end it and provide the other person an opportunity to respond.
28. Communicate your needs clearly when you just need to vent.
Some people may instantly offer solutions or suggestions when all you want is someone to listen and offer emotional support. By letting people know upfront that you just need to vent, they can be more receptive to listening and supply the support you need.
It’s also a good idea to ask your friends what they need when they come to you with a problem. Do they want your help solving a problem or simply someone to listen and empathize with? In this way, you can offer appropriate support and avoid misunderstandings.
In order to be heard when you speak, it is vital to consider several factors.
First, express vulnerability rather than anger and use “I” statements to describe how you are feeling. Second, be open to hearing the other person’s side and practice active listening. Third, develop a sense of humor to approach difficult conversations with ease. Fourth, know when not to talk and choose the right time and place to start a conversation. Fifth, let people know when you just want to vent and do not need a solution.
And finally, accept that sometimes other people aren’t open to listening, and need to reconsider being in a relationship with them. By following these guidelines, you can increase your chances of being heard and having a successful conversation.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article on how to be heard when you speak. I actually hope that its content has been of good help to you.