Getting people to listen


A few weeks ago I mentioned to my doctor that I wanted to focus on losing weight. [Always a good thing to do before changing your diet and exercise, right?]

She heard my statement and immediately began lecturing me about steps I needed to take in order to lose weight. She told me to cook for myself instead of going out to eat (I already cook for myself 98% of the time). She told me to use healthy fats such as olive oil instead of butter (I buy olive oil by the gallon and shun butter religiously).  When I told her I already know my problem is portion control, she dismissed this simple explanation and launched into the horrors of pizza and dessert.

The entire conversation was (I am sure) very frustrating for both of us. I wasn’t interested in hearing what she had to say because her message wasn’t tailored to me, and she wasn’t interested in what I had to say because she didn’t believe someone at my BMI would already be doing most of the best practices.

In most of the conversations I have with people, I hear frustrations with other people who aren’t listening. It seems none of us is listening enough, and all of us want to be heard. We may wish to be heard by

  • loved ones — about our lives and inner experiences,
  • children, clients, colleagues or employees — about our wisdom or expertise,
  • parents, employers, or service providers — about what we do and don’t need, or
  • decision-makers — about the unintended negative consequences their decisions will have, or the positive intended consequences their decisions could have.

So this brings me to my 2017 strategic shift.

In 2016, I started listening to people who are passionate about making a difference in this world. I asked for folks who consider themselves to be “idealists” to let me interview them so I could find out what they need, what challenges them the most. And more than anything else I heard a fervent desire to be heard.

And I realized that’s all of us.

So in 2017, my blog, my coaching, my writing, my speaking, and any new courses will be focused on these core needs — the need to be heard, the need to influence others (even if it’s only “to get them to listen”).

I firmly believe that if we want others to change, we must begin with ourselves. And so this year I will be diving deep into these questions: What must I do if I want you to listen? What must you do if you want others to listen?

Do you already have an idea about how to answer these questions? Leave me a comment below!


2 thoughts on “Getting people to listen

  1. What must I do if I want you to listen? What must you do if you want others to listen?

    Hi Amy! I am assuming that your are referring to one on one conversation. Therefore, the art of good listening and being a good listener is to focus on what you are saying, whom you are speaking with and being in a environment that is conducive to listening by shutting out all distractions. It pays to be positive even if what you are listening to is not what you want to hear.

    1. Thank you, Adele! How simple it is to block out distractions, and yet we do this so little. Staying positive when you don’t like what you are hearing? Wow, much bigger challenge!

      You rock, A!

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