How to be Heard - Every Time You Speak to Your Team or Address an Audience

career influence success Nov 06, 2020

In a previous post, I spoke about how not to get passed over for promotion, and one of those steps was to speak up. Regardless of your seniority your business or your career, there’s a lot of noise out there and if you are not heard, you cannot influence, and if you can’t influence you can’t be successful.

Many people have the mindset that it’s best to fly under the radar, but successful people know that.

"if you don’t want to be part of the herd, you must be heard"

In this post, I’m going to share with you 5 strategies to get heard and pave your way to be heard and be more influential.

Some of these strategies might seem counter-intuitive and earlier in my career, I struggled to apply them, sometimes missing opportunities because I didn’t get my message heard.

I don’t want you to miss out – so listen up!

Strategy 1: Bad News First

The evening news, on TV, does not start with a cute story about a baby animal being born at the Zoo, it starts with something shocking. Don’t wrap your messages in ‘cotton wool’, or try to hide the hard truth, start your presentation with the bad news or possible threat; this will get everyone’s attention. An example would be,

“The current late payment issue is costing our organization 30 million dollars in positive cash flow, and increasing our cost of business by 24%”

Or one I often say,

“The lack of Self-leadership within your organization is paralyzing your agility and making you easy pickings for the competition.”

Once you have everyone's attention you can deliver your solution or actions to take. By doing this you will be remembered as someone who ‘rescued’ the situation.

Strategy 2:   Share the ‘Why’

Simon Sinek became famous with his TED talk, Start with Why, but those of us in the communication field have always known that without Why there’s no motivation to do What or What’s next.

By starting with the bad news first, you have their attention, now you need to explain, why are you speaking about this topic. That means Why this topic is important, and Why it’s you that’s talking about it.

So, I might say,

“Taking ownership of your choices in life is important to your happiness and ultimate success, and I’m talking to you about this because as a researcher and coach on Self-leadership, I can give you strategies to make better choices.”

What makes the Why powerful is if you already know what’s important to your listeners. If you are talking to the marketing department, you might share a Why, for example:

“Knowing that we don’t just want eyeballs on our web page, we want engagement, follow-ship, and of course purchases, my team’s innovation will deliver just this.”

Such an opening is guaranteed to get you heard. So, when is your next opportunity to try this?

Strategy 3:  Probe with Questions

Getting heard is not all about making statements, asking questions is a great way of being noticed, and being able to influence. Use questions to get as much information as possible to understand the issues and ensure you make good decisions.

Get used to asking, “How is that important?” “What’s driving that” and “What outcomes are you looking for?”

"The quality of the questions you ask is going to increase that quality of the information you receive, and the quality of the information you receive impacts how influential you will be in the long run"

So, do you think asking questions is a good idea?

Strategy 4:  Empathize

As you observe and probe with questions, you will understand the challenges your listeners face. Let them know you know how they feel.

“Wow, that must feel very frustrating”. Or

“I get the feeling you are really passionate about this”.

A well-used truism is:

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”

And so, sincerely acknowledging how somebody is feeling will be interpreted as caring. This of course works best if you actually do care!

You will be pleasantly surprised how much more heard you will be if you can empathize with others. And Finally,

Strategy 5:  Use Assertive Language

Don’t be aggressive, but definitely don’t be passive. The perfect way to be heard is to be assertive, which means you state your wants, needs, and beliefs in a way that allows the other party or parties to state their wants needs, or beliefs.

Use assertive language like, “I think”, “I believe”, “We can”

Stop using passive words and phrases like: “I’ll try”, “Maybe”, “It should be OK” or “IMHO”.

Being assertive and confidently stating your wants, beliefs, and desires, in a way that actively encourages others to state their wants, needs, and beliefs will not only get you heard but make you an influencer.

Personally, I have used these strategies in business and they have transformed the way people have responded to me. So now I challenge you to practice and implement these 5 Self-leadership Communication strategies right away.

And remember,

You can’t lead others – unless you first lead yourself.





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