You’re buzz, buzz, buzzing around, but not getting any attention? You’re shouting from the proverbial rooftops, but ain’t nobody listening? You’re Tweeting, and Facebooking, and Blogging, and Discussing like mad in an effort to be heard, but it’s like you’re talking into a massive echo chamber… “HELLO out there… there… there…!” “Anybody HOME?…HOME?… HOME?…”
I feel ya. It happens. As a writer, I’d LOVE if everything I wrote went crazy viral and the world all had something to say about it. Then I’d land this killer book deal, and people would want to make a movie, starring me, and, and… OK so maybe that’s a little dramatic and lofty. But as a writer, my goal is to communicate. And when you communicate, the desired reaction is to be listened to, to be heard.
BUT… the reality is that sometimes people just don’t give a hoot. Yep, it’s true. Some people just don’t care what you have to say. Or what I have to say. Like right now, YOU may be reading this article but 20 other people may be saying “Eh… I’ll skip it… maybe next time”.
Or maybe they’re busy and just don’t have time to read what I’ve got to say. The fact that I ::insert stomping foot tantrum here:: really want them too, is well… a personal problem. My personal problem, not theirs.
Same goes for your article, or your blog post, or your book you just self-published, or your last Facebook update. Yeah it’d be great to be heard and for people to respond, but the fact of the matter is, some people just will not hear you for a huge variety of reasons.
There is no need to get your nose bent out of shape about it, or to give up trying to be heard. The hard truth is that persistence pays off, and even if no one is hearing you today, keep shouting and writing, and doing whatever it is you’re doing to communicate and you WILL eventually get people to listen.
Do you think Oprah gave up the first time around, trying to start a talk show? Not likely, she wouldn’t be here today if she did. Do you think Stephen King gave up after writing his first book or article, and no one was interested in reading it? Again, not likely.
People who give up on being heard, will in fact NEVER be heard. People who keep at it, keep telling people their story, keep telling people what they want to say… eventually someone will listen and if you’ve got something great to say then the word will spread. And soon you’ll have not one person who listens to you, but two. And then three and so on.
That said, there is a bit of skill involved in getting people to listen to you and to hear you. It starts with being a good listener yourself.
I know, sounds so BORING… I have to listen to other people if I want them to listen to me? Sheesh what a rip.
But if you don’t bother listening to others, they’re not going to understand why they should bother listening to you either. And if you don’t bother listening to others you won’t be able to see how they are REACTING when listening to you!
So, here are a few ways you can help yourself be heard, by listening to other people and how they respond to you. This applies not just to people like me who like to write to communicate with others, but also to people who like to talk face-to-face as well.
1. Are you TOO helpful? Sometimes in your eagerness to be helpful to others, it’s possible to come across as a dreaded ‘know it all’. This is a terrible perception to give to others of you, because once you’re seen as a ‘know it all’ it’s a hard perception to shake.
Other people could take your attempts at being helpful as being overly critical as well and that’s not exactly conducive to being heard either! Eventually people get sick of being criticized or listening to the ‘know it all’ and tune out altogether. So make sure you’re paying attention to how people ARE responding to the things that you say, whether in print or in a verbal conversation, and take pains not to be so helpful you turn people off.
2. Do you over-share? Sometimes folks just aren’t interested in what you had for dinner last week, or how your boyfriend (or girlfriend) dumped you on V day. Or they aren’t interested in how indignant you are over the way the whales are treated, and no they don’t want to adopt one for a dollar, thankyouverymuch. There is such a thing as TMI (too much information) and you need to be aware of that to be an effective communicator. A lot of times that will boil down to simply knowing your audience, regardless of whether you’re speaking to them or writing to them.
3. How’s your communication style? A lot of times you can lose listeners simply because of the WAY you communicate. Some folks can’t stand when someone doesn’t just get to the point already, and some folks aren’t interested unless you’re telling them a story. Some folks like long articles like this one and some folks prefer short and sweet. Some folks speak rapidly, others talk with a slow drawl and the two styles just can’t seem to mesh well enough for either to truly listen to the other.
Finally, remember that when you’re listening to folks you shouldn’t just be listening to see how they’re responding to YOU. You should also be listening simply because you care about them. You should care about the people you’re trying to communicate with. People like to feel valued and important. It’s just human nature and when you go the extra mile to make them FEEL valued and important, suddenly you’ve not only got a listener, but a fan as well that respects you and wants to help you spread your message. Can’t beat THAT now can ya?
I hope you enjoyed the post. Feel free to leave your comments below if you have your own ideas on being heard. Also, don’t forget to subscribe via RSS if you enjoyed this article, you’ll get updated every time something new goes up here on Big Girl Branding.