“If John doesn’t listen to you the first time, you just have to keep going back to be heard and yell louder!” Advice from one experienced traveling businessman to his younger colleague as I travelled behind them in the queue for security at the airport.  I wanted to interrupt and correct this advice, but I didn’t. My experience is that if business superiors and colleagues don’t hear you it is rarely because you were not loud enough or did not repeat yourself enough. My advice is yelling as a strategy or tactic is not going to work.  I think what people need is to be understood, to have the dots connected. Next time you feel strongly about an idea you have and people are not listening, try this:

  • ask them about what they are worrying about/struggling with on the business and truly listen
  • understand what the essence of their challenge is
  • consider how you might help them on what they are struggling to solve
    • assess if there is a connection to what you are suggesting:  If there is, make it clear to them. If there is not, don’t force fit one.
Over time this type of empathic behavior will build your credibility and influence and you won’t have to yell so much!

Take Action

Grow your influence in simple ways. Each day remember to:
  • Ask others what they are worried about
  • Listen and seek to understand
  • Offer help/Connect the dots
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