How to Make People More Receptive to What You Are Saying

Strategies you can use from my book Ingaging LeadershipIngaging Leadership book cover Small Picture

I once worked with an organization that distributed a recorded audio clip to its entire sales force. At the end of the recording, salespeople were asked to send an email to a specific administrative assistant. Each salesperson who listened to the entire clip until the end would learn that he or she had received a watch as a gift – and a pretty nice watch at that. Yet only two out of the 800 salespeople responded to that offer. They were the only ones who listened to the entire message. The rest of the salesmen and saleswomen didn’t get that far.  And as a result, they didn’t get that watch.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem. Many people don’t listen to what you are saying, don’t read your emails and other communications carefully or completely . . . or don’t read them at all.

But here are some strategies that will help ensure your employees are interested and involved in what you have to say:

  • Understand and communicate the “What’s In It for Me” (WIIFM) – People are more likely to listen to you and read your communications when they perceive a clear and immediate benefit from doing so. So don’t hesitate to make a statement like, “If you take this training, you will increase your sales volume by 10%.”
  • Keep emails and other communications clear and simple – Be organized, to the point.
  • Resist the temptation to repeat yourself unnecessarily – People are far less likely to listen to you or read your communications if they have learned that you will convey the same information repeatedly.
  • Define roles and responsibilities – People will listen better and pay more attention if you state clearly who is on the team and explain their respective responsibilities.

Remember that performance reviews offer a good opportunity to evaluate each employee’s skills as a communicator. If people need to improve or refine their skills, find workshops or professional educational courses that will help them.

And don’t forget to lead by example, by giving the kind of attention to others that you would like to receive. Have you noticed that people listen best to people who are good listeners? I have. If you hone your own listening skills, you will be better heard and understood.

Evan Hackel, author of Ingaging Leadership.
Evan Hackel, author of Ingaging Leadership.

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