Have you noticed that sometimes people deliberately not get what you’re saying? It happens. Like when you tell someone you need X by end of day tomorrow, and when you remind that person, he acts like you’re bringing up the top for the very first time ever.
It can be that someone does not want to hear what you are saying. Shocking right! When they should be hanging on to your every word.
For those thorny times when your Very Clear Message (or VCM) is misconstrued or misinterpreted, here is the code breaker to know what’s is really going on inside their head(s.)
As smart as you are, you’re already getting the fact that what’s going on in the other person’s world has a lot to do with the way your message is interpreted. And if you’re not taking extra measures to make sure that message goes out the way you intend, a lot of the message can easily get lost. If you want to sound all executive about it, call it overmanaging your communication.
Here are some common reasons they’re not listening:
1. Fatigue + overwhelm = Message overload.
Face it, everyone’s kind of hyper and crazy-busy these days. It’s so easy to get careless both on the speaking and listening end of communication. It thus behooves you (gotta love that word!) to be extra careful with the way you say things.
You might want to overcommunicate a bit. By that I mean, repeat the message more than you normally would or take extra precautions to make sure the message is getting across the way you want it to. One way to do this is to ask the person to reiterate what she just heard you say.
2. Control Freakishness.
It looks like a crazy world out there at times and one common way to cope with uncertainty is by trying to control every aspect of one’s life. We call this being a control freak. And we all have it, just to different degrees.
So how does this affect your communication?
Just as you would like to control the behavior of certain people, they also want to control your behavior. That may extend to controlling what you say. In some cases, people interpret what you say to fit what they think you should be saying. You can give them permission to misinterpret what you say and you can put more effort into crafting your message with extra sensitivity.
The desire to control becomes stronger when people are stressed out and tired and or insecure for some reason. Even if it’s a good reason.
This block is significant all the time, but seems to get worse with every new App.
If you’ve ever trained a dog, you know you have to get the dog’s attention before you can communicate anything to the canine. Same thing goes for distracted folks.
The way you do this is to set up the message before you say it. Things you can do to get someone’s attention include:
- Hey! I need to talk to you about something important.
- I really want your input on this.
- Your insight is essential to our success on this.
4. The block of Unreal Expectations.
As you know, I’m all into thinking big, living posh, glamour and prosperity.
But what happens is that we fail to see the magic that’s happening right in front of us at this very moment. Because we’re looking for fireworks, we fail to see the twinkle of the winter stars.Or we get so consumed with the bad news on television, we ignore the hugs, the sunshine and other blessings of this day.That puts people in a negative emotional state which frames the way they interpret what you’re saying.
Communication happens through emotional filters.
5. Problems in the relationship = no trust.
Communication happens on 2 levels: content level and relationship level. The more rocky the relationship, the less content gets effectively communicated. So if there is a consistent problem of “miscommunication” there is a definite problem with the relationship. It could that one of the parties is not a good fit for the position, or it could be the very common problem that someone does not feel that all her hard work is appreciated by her boss.
Now, what to do about people not listening to you?
Before someone really tunes into what you’re saying, there needs to be some form of emotional contact. NOT that you have to hug or hold hands or sing in unison. That means building the relationship, showing appreciation, being really funny if that’s your thing, or sad, if that’s appropriate. Keep it real, don’t try to be perfect and they will totally listen to your every word. Or wish they had!