Have you ever noticed how some people are just easy to listen to? In meetings, they are always the ones whose opinions are highly coveted. In networking events, they can work a room like no other.
When they speak to their children and families, you can tell they are being heard and respected.
Why do people listen to them, when it often seems so hard for the rest of us?
The truth is, it’s not about their job title, their financial stature, or even their physical stature, for that matter. Although they may have reached a high level of success, it is the communication skills these people possess that make them effective communicators and garner the respect and ears of those around them.
If you aspire to be someone people listen to, consider these 5 best practices:
1. Hold Stronger Eye Contact
Shakespeare wrote, “The eyes are the window of the soul.” The first place to get someone’s attention is nonverbally.
Most people make weak eye contact, which comes off as less confident. The best leaders also make the best eye contact with those around them.
2. Speak with Brevity
Don’t be a rambler. Ramblers are not respected, and they get tuned out by most after their first five words.
Know what you want to say, and be direct and to the point. If people want clarification and need a more in-depth explanation, they will ask you to expand.
3. Listen ’til the Last Drop
When you talk to people, are you listening to create your response, or are you listening to understand? Do you find yourself accidentally interrupting others while they’re speaking?
The best leaders never do that, and it’s something we all must strive to work on.
Try this: during your next few conversations, listen and pause until it almost gets uncomfortable, or until the person asks you what you think. It may feel really awkward, but that’s really listening.
4. Present Solutions
Teddy Roosevelt used to say, “Complaining without a solution is whining.”
Identifying problems and roadblocks is easy. Everyone does it. However, the true leaders are the people who identify the challenges, and then throw out an idea or two to OVERCOME THEM.
They may be great ideas, and they may not be. That’s not really the point.
The key is: they focus their attention and effort on solving the problems, not dwelling on them.
5. Remove Yourself from the Equation
Before presenting an idea or voicing a concern, ask yourself: “If I had no personal stake in this, would I still have the same concern?” If the answer is no, then you should re-think what you’re about to say.
It’s usually pretty easy to sniff out how people are personally benefiting in situations. True leaders approach situations objectively and understand they will gain by helping others achieve their wants and needs.
Remember the famous Zig Ziglar quote: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will help enough other people get what they want.”
Practice these five steps until they’re second-nature, and you’ll find it much easier to get others’ attention.
What are your best practices to getting people’s attention? Please feel free to provide comments below.
Bret Barrie was a Hall-of-Fame and President’s Club-winning sales rep and is a top-producing sales leader in the medical device industry. He is also the author of The Selling Edge: How to Reach the Top in any Sales Industry. A baseball enthusiast and fitness junkie, he is happily married with three children and lives in the greater Sacramento area. For more information, visit bretbarrie.com.