The reason people are ignoring what you say, is because you are ignoring what they said!
This is the listening Triangle. What is most important is at the top, what is least important is at the bottom.
The problem is, we spend too much time at the bottom of the triangle and not enough at the top!
There are really only three levels of listening we do in conversations. We are either:
1. Listening to Tell your own story
This is where you listen to what someone says and then once they have finished talking (or maybe they haven’t) you immediately reply with your own story.
For example, John is talking about how cute his dog is, then you immediately reply with your own cute dog story. BOOM, you just dropped his story like a sack of spuds. – Imagine how he feels. He feels like you don’t value his story!
By listening in order to tell your own story it immediately invalidates that person’s story and they know it.
This is the worst kind of listening you can do. You will get no trust from people if you do this and there is no influence to be gained here.
2. Listening to Answer
This is when you listen to what someone says purely to answer them.
For example. John tells you about how he has a problem with a process at work and you answer him with a rebuttal. Basically, you had to be right and you chose to let him know it.
It shows the other person one thing:
You listened to them just to given them an answer and you are not at all interested in what they have to say.
This will leave them feeling that you have basically just overridden them and as a result engenders little to no trust.
Your answer will be ignored and you won’t be able to influence them.
3. Listening to Understand
By listening to understand someone’s point of view
Asking them questions that help you understand their position
You start to grow that trust and then you can influence people.
When you really are listening to understand someone, they can feel it, their connection with you grows and once they feel that you are truly trying to understand them and their position / problems / thoughts you will find that you end up with far better results.
It all comes back to empathy. Think about how you felt last time someone listened to you, just to tell their own story!
Then think about the last time someone listened to you, to truly understand what you were saying and how you felt about that…