We probably all think we are good listeners, perhaps better than we really are. And I’m sure there are times when we could be better at listening to the ones around us.
However, there are those is us who really are terrible at listening…all the time!
In the office, this can be so difficult. Maybe there is a manager who never really pays attention to their employees or possibly, you as the leader has an employee who never executes your advice. When you have members working on a project together, communication is critical and what if they are not on the same page?
So how do you deal with a coworker that just doesn’t seem to hear what you are saying?
- Questions: Try changing things up! If you’ve been talking and talking and you feel like you aren’t making any progress, try asking the person some open ended questions. For example “What do you think of my idea?” Or try, “How would you attack this problem?” This method will make the person feel more involved and motivated in the conversation.
- New communication: Try to deliver your information in a whole new way. You could try to send an email first with your list of ideas or suggestions. The person might better be able to read and process all the information you’ve sent in written form, then you can discuss it.
- Turn the tables: Instead of talking to the person about their awful listening, talk to them about you not being a good listener. You could ask if they could help you improve your listening skills and this could hopefully encourage them to start thinking about their own.
All in all, a good general policy is to model good listening behavior as much as possible. Listen considerately, respectively, and precisely. That can sometimes persuade people to develop their own skills.
Of course, in an idyllic world, all of your co-workers would practice and carry out effective listening skills. This would make everyone feel self-assured, understood and heard!
Since not everyone is able to summon up this skill, you can try these tips and hopefully help a teammate who may not have this difficult ability.
You may not be able to change every bad listener you come across, but adjusting your approach will help you work more effectively with someone who isn’t always a great listener!
How do you handle not being heard by a coworker?
Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC and author of "The 3x5 Coach: A Practical Guide to Coaching Your Team for Greater Results and Happier People", which is now available in Paperback or a Kindle version at https://tinyurl.com/y8ecykfy