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Hear Me, Hear Me

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Ever feel as if you’re speaking with the mute button on? As in, weren’t you the one who first brought up the idea that just flew from your peer’s lips and is now “the most genius thing” your teacher has ever heard? Some people, it seems, could command attention while reciting a list of fertilizer chemicals; others are ignored no matter what they have to say.
“You’ll have to speak up loud and clear to be heard by others,” says SeYoung Kim. It all has to start with noticing how others react to you. A few communicating points include: 1. When you’re trying to be helpful, do others avoid making eye contact with you? Do they interrupt or show little interest on your point of view? You may be coming across as a know-it-all, or your advice could sound like criticism. Eventually people may stop listening to your ideas altogether.
Next time you have a suggestion, try asking, “Would you like to know what I think?” Or “I have a different perspective—would you like to hear it?” 2. While you’re talking, do people check their BlackBerries or make you feel like you’re wasting their time?
Tess Olnick says, “It all depends on your communication style, whether or not you lose an audience.” With that in mind, some people may respond to emotion and storytelling while others may prefer getting to the point abruptly.
Note how fast the other person speaks and try to match their speed: If you talk too slowly to a fast-paced communicator, his mind may wander; if you talk too rapidly to a slower-paced person, he may feel flustered and tune out. 3. Do friends drift off while you’re pouring your heart out?
It is commonly believed that many females like to commiserate—expressing their problems not in a way to fix them but to simply share them as a way to reduce stress. But some people, on the other hand—particularly males—hear such talk as a burdensome request for help.
In doing so, let your friend know that you just want to vent out for a few minutes about what’s going on and tell him before hand that he does not have to say or do anything about it.
That way, it releases him from assuming that he must offer a solution. 4. No matter what, you can’t go wrong by showing interest in what other people say and making them feel important. In other words, the better you listen, the more you’ll be listened to.





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