6 Ways to Make People Listen to You

Firstly, there are always going to be times when people just won’t listen. Maybe they’re distracted by a problem in their life, maybe they’re drunk, maybe they just don’t like you. However, there are ways to get your message across more effectively.

1 – “FRONT LOAD” THE MAIN IDEA LIKE A NEWSPAPER HEADLINE

newspaper-generatorWe’ve all heard stories like this: “The other day I was on my way to the grocery store, the one on Chartreuse Avenue… by the way they had a sale on Fuji apples so I bought two dozen… anyway, I was on my way to the store and I was driving the blue car, which is a real drag because the red one is so much easier to park, when I saw Bertha on the side of the road… you remember Bertha, right? From the lake? Aaaaaanyway, I saw Bertha and she told me she’d overheard at the doctor’s office that they’re going to tell me in the morning I have a week to live!”

Long explanations bore people or make them anxious with anticipation.  Make your point up front and then go into the details.  That way, if your audience’s attention span drops off, you’ve already delivered the message. If the messages are important enough, the details won’t matter anyway.

2 – USE PLAIN AND SIMPLE LANGUAGE, NOT BIG “INTELLIGENT” WORDS
It’s inefficacious to obfuscate your constituency by befuddling your asseveration with superfluous ideophones. Besides, you’re more likely to sound like you’re insecure and trying to compensate, and that’s definitely not the message you want to send, right?

3 – JUST AVOID “LITERALLY”, “IRONIC”, and “PENULTIMATE”
Really, unless several educated people have verified your understanding of these words, you likely use them incorrectly. That’s especially true of “ironic”. Besides, these words are overused and sound as if they are. By the way, penultimate doesn’t mean “really awesome”, it means “second to last”, and for the few times you need that descriptor, it’s better just to say “second to last”.

4 – EYE CONTACT
Looking someone in the eye not only ensures they’re at least making an effort to look like they’re paying attention, it conveys that you’re paying attention to them as well, which will only enhance their interest in your message. Talking to someone while looking at your phone or tablet conveys a casualness that makes your message seem less important. Besides, eye contact instills traits like warmth, likability, competence, and honesty.

5 – TALK LESS
In the movie Chasing Amy, the character of Silent Bob communicates almost entirely by the use of facial expressions and body posture. When he finally speaks, he delivers advice that proves to be a revelation for the main character. The message’s importance is accentuated by the fact that a previously silent character made the effort to speak up. When Silent Bob talks, you should probably listen.

6 – LISTEN
Many people just wait for their turn to start yapping again, only thinking about the next thing they have to say. Don’t be one of those people. You’ll miss a lot and people can tell when you’re doing it. It devalues the conversation, and may even lead to the belief that you’re a yammering idiot.
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Images by morguefile.com and Legion of Weirdos, monkey image by Creative Commons license