Can You Hear Me?
I had the delightful opportunity of attending a three-day conference this past week. I heard about 15 different speakers talk about marriage and family therapy topics. Some were moving and fascinating, some were transferring information, and some were not interesting.
What struck me the most was a young speaker who was new to the profession and was clearly passionate about what he was presenting. Despite the importance of the material he covered, the audience seemed disconnected. He was relatively knowledgeable, spoke very quickly, and concluded rather abruptly. He answered some questions as if he were a subject matter expert, despite his lack of experience in the field. I applaud him for his courage to speak among his more mature peers. He exemplified the statement, "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
I had found myself in that situation many times, mainly when I talked about a subject where I needed to be the subject matter expert and was not. It was noticeable, particularly when a large group was present, and I had a lot of information to present. They didn't hear what I had to say because I needed to interact with them more effectively. It's easy for good news to fall on deaf ears. This principle doesn't just apply to large groups; it can also be associated with individuals or small groups.
Sometimes it's easy to turn others off with our "knowledge." [Blind Spot]
I love these two questions:
How come I'm about to say what I'm about to say?
What do I want them to think of me after you have this talk?
Looking at the first question, knowing why I want to say something, can steer me down a very different path. If I were going to talk about communications and began speaking about facts, it would probably cause the listeners to tune out. If I talk about good vs. lousy communication and give examples, it will allow them to relate. Talking about the costs of poor communication can open listeners to hearing at a different level. Once engaged, they can listen to facts. No matter how big or small the crowd, when I speak to join first, they become open and receptive to what I have to say.
The second question is also essential. If I don't care what they think of me, I may show up unprepared or matter-of-factly, tarnishing my relationships with them. They will want to hear more of what I say if I am fully prepared and can connect with them.
These two questions also help me decide what and how to present. We all have great information, life experiences, funny stories, and incredible wisdom to offer. What matters most is how it is packaged.
Do people really hear your message? Do you get the credit you deserve for passing along great information? Do people enjoy being in your presence?
We all have great information to present. Are we capable of saying it in ways people can hear us?
Watch for the blind spots.
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Blind Spots in Relationships
What I don't know I don't know about myself
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