Ten Tips on How to Talk so People Listen

Everybody wants to tell you how to talk eloquently, but they are focusing on the wrong objective, the purpose is speaking is so people listen and get your message.
Here are ten quick hacks that will help you achieve that effectively. They are all simple enough, but do practice since practice makes perfect. Try to focus on one tip a day, and in time they all become part of how you communicate, and you start to do it subconsciously.

Take a Breath Before Speaking.

Let people anticipate what you will say. We are always in a hurry to make a point. And we think we know what the other person is going to say. So, we rush them, so we can speak. To prevent this hastiness, take a calm deep breath before responding. This also makes the other person feel that you are thinking about what they said and about what you will say, so they will listen more carefully.
also read my previous blog Three breaths between stressed YOU and calmer YOU.

Listen Carefully to What Others Are Saying.

Repeat what they said to ensure understanding. Or tell them what you understood from what they said. This is an old trick but here is a way to make it even more effective: When they pause in their speech, repeat part of what the other person said. A part that you feel he or she wants to make sure you understood. So, if someone is saying “and I want to improve the communication among the team members, so we have less errors in the final deliverable.” So when it is your turn you say “Improve communication among team members…” and the other side will say “correct” or something of that sort. They will feel you listened, and they will tell you more, which is wonderful because you will understand more. I feel sometimes clients give me work because I understand more than because I can solve their problem. Of course, I can solve their problem otherwise I would not take the work, but at the time of our discussion they cannot be sure that I am able to deliver. But feeling that I understand their pain makes them appreciate that I care enough to listen attentively.

Validate Concerns, Feelings, Emotions, and Points Made by the Other Party.

Even if you do not agree with them. Do this before presenting your point of view. Emotions and concerns are always valid. And you have to confirm them to the client. Not negate them. So, if the client says, “I am worried that your team will not finish on time,” you should come back with “that is a valid concern because I know how important it is that we finish on time.” Then you can tell the client what you plan to do to ensure timely delivery. They will feel much better than if you just tell them “No be assured we will finish on time.” That does not alleviate concerns. It actually makes them worse because you dismissed their concerns instead of validating them.

Always Use the Word “Because.”

People are easily convinced when they hear the word because. Even if what you say is not strong, people will by it as a reason to listen.

Let People Speak First.

Ask them their opinion. Ask them why they are asking you this question. This way you will get what they have to say out of the way before you start speaking.

Do Not Feel You Have to Tell Them Everything Altogether.

People will get bored. Give them the information in chunks and ask for their feedback, or their experiences regarding what you said. Listen to them, validate, then give them the next chunk.

Try to Build on What Others Said.

Try to find a queue from what they said, so you can connect it to your next point. For example, if someone says that security of the data is important for their company, it is a good idea to say “I am glad you mentioned security because it is crucial, and if my solution works it has to address the security issue. Here is how I propose…”

Do Not Rush to Answer Objections.

It will look like you are impatient, or you are defensive. Instead, listen attentively to the objection. Always say something like “Good point,” or “Valid point.” Then say something that gives them a chance to judge what you are going to say. For example, if they say security is an issue and you have not mentioned anything that addresses security. You have to say “Valid point.” Security is a big issue, and it is not an easy subject to tackle, but I would like to hear from you what are your security concerns.Let them speak, then say all valid points. If I can handle these concerns, what else about security you would still be worried about. Then you would say, let me try to address your concerns and please tell me if I did or not. Then make your point, then ask if the issue is addressed or not.

Talk in Terms of the Other Person’s Interests, Not Yours.

Show people that you understand their interests or needs, then tell them what you want to communicate and show them how it is linked to their needs.

Show Them That You Are on Their Side.

Try to create an enemy situation or entity, and talk “we” referring to yourself and the receiver, to be allies or partners in handling this “enemy” you created.
 
What are your secret tips that you use to ensure people listen to you?

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