Why don’t people listen to you?

January 29, 2012

Let me begin by wishing all a very happy and successful 2012. As I wish you to do well, I recall what a learned lady told me years ago. She said, “If you have a positive attitude and good communications skills, you will do very well in life”. Years down the line, I realize how true the statement is. When I see successful people around me, I always find these two qualities in them. They have a positive outlook and they are good communicators. I have written a number of posts on attitude. I like to begin 2012 by writing on communication skills.

Listening is a key skill in communication. Many of us are accused of not being a good listener and this often leads to problems. When I conduct workshops on communication skills, I often begin with a question. I ask the group, “Have you ever wondered why people don’t listen properly”. The answers that come can be grouped into three categories:

– People don’t listen if they are not interested in the subject matter.
– People don’t listen if they don’t like the speaker.
– People don’t listen when the timing of communication does not suit   them.

When we see all reasons together, it basically tells us that the onus of making people listen is more on the speaker. It is actually a challenge for the speaker to make people listen.

When you plan your speech, first ask yourself how can you make the topic interesting to the audience. Second, think how the audience perceives you, your personality, your body language and your attitude. And finally, think about the timing of your communication. Is it going to be convenient to the audience? How much can the audience absorb at the given point of time?

A good public speaker is the one who can command the attention of the audience, keeps them engaged and makes them listen.