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Why people don't listen to you

It’s a frustrating situation. You’re sharing advice or giving instructions and the other person just isn’t listening. Why does this happen? How can you engage others, so they really want to listen? Here are the top tips from our panel:

Avoid Lecturing says Eleanor Shakiba

If you sound like a ‘lecturing parent’ other people may react in ‘defiant child’ mode. You need to carefully manage your posture, gestures and language patterns. Try adopting an assertive stance, shifting your body into a relaxed, upright posture, avoiding blamer-style gestures such as pointing and eliminating parental trigger phrases such as ‘When I was your age…’

Getting people to listen to your message depends on your ability to engage their emotions says Karen Meager.

gossipEmotions are as important as logic in making decisions and influencing others. To engage people’s emotions you need to be aware that people process information with their senses. The senses are the super-fast highway to someone's emotions. People develop preferences for processing visually, processing with sounds and words or processing with feelings. Karen’s guide to The Power of Your Senses gives in-depth information on this plus a quiz you can take to find out your preference.

People think in different chunk sizes; you need to adapt your message says John McLachlan

Big chunk people are interested in the big picture, an overall view, a summary and a quick point. Giving these people lots of detail will switch them off so keep it short and to the point - they will ask if they want more detail.

Small chunk people need detail. If you are too woolly and vague they will not understand you or may assume you don’t know what you are talking about. Be specific and ask them if they need more information and what exactly they need to know.

If you are presenting to a group, start with the big picture and then chunk it down into smaller pieces. Detailed people are generally more patient and will wait for the detail, whereas big picture people need to be engaged right at the start.

Read the full Great Minds Think Differently article here, where you can also sign up to receive future editions straight to your inbox.

Our Panel

Eleanor Shakiba is based in Australia author of Difficult People made Easy, INLPTA NLP Trainer and Co Founder of Think Learn Succeed.

Karen Meager is a UKCP registered Psychotherapist, INLPTA NLP Master Trainer and Co author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World.

John McLachlan is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Leadership Specialist and INLPTA NLP Master Trainer and Co author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World.

You can download a free first chapter of Real Leaders for the Real World.

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