Listening Is The First Step To Being Heard
I am constantly hearing people saying, yelling, and screaming, “Listen to me!” They don’t always say it using those words, but they are demanding in one way or another that people listen to them. Unfortunately, this isn’t the way to be heard.
Conversation Vs. Being Heard
The first step, no matter the topic, is to set a goal of having a conversation about the topic rather than to be heard. Having a goal of being heard cannot have a fulfilling outcome. If you are able to speak every word that you desire and the other person listens, then what do you expect to happen? You spoke. They listened. Is that it? It might be in some situations. However, generally people want the other person to support them or take some type of action.
Thus, enters the conversation. A conversation is critically important if you want to walk away from the interaction feeling as if you achieved your goal. Without a conversation, you really aren’t connecting with the other person. You are simply dumping ideas, thoughts, or emotions on them.
Now, if a person’s goal is to support a narrative that “no one ever listens to them,” the being heard approach is the way to go. However, I would challenge anyone with that narrative to ask themselves, “How much better would life be if I had true conversations?”
Listening Is Required
Conversations take more effort and they require listening. If a person only wants to demand that others listen to them, a conversation is not possible. Instead, they must approach the topic as a conversation. Each person must be allowed to express their perspective with a polite exchange back and forth.
This is one of the challenges that our society now faces. No one listens; however, everyone wants to be heard. The primary reason that people demand to be heard is that no one, themselves included, is listening.
When a person demands to be heard and no one appears to listen, they become more and more agitated. Both people (or groups of people) continue to get louder and louder. However, no one is listening to the other one.
This phenomenon is much like children having a temper tantrum. Neither the parent nor the child (who may not have the skills yet) takes steps to defuse the situation. Instead, the child causes more and more disruption until the situation boils over.
In the case with adults, most should be able to defuse the situation, but perhaps that skill is lacking or the person is gaining something by not defusing the situation. With children, they are often trying to breakdown their parents to get something they want. The same is likely true of adults that would rather demand to be heard than have an actual conversation.
Two Ears, One Mouth
So, how do we improve society? We do so by connecting with others and having true conversations. Start by listening. As it has been said, “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” You might be surprised what you would learn if you really listened to someone with a different perspective.
And, you might be surprised that by listening to them, they also listen to you!