Getting people to listen and talk to you is more of an art than of charisma. You don’t have to be highly intelligent, or possess a charismatic personality for people to want to hear what you have to say. With time and patience, you can master a few things that will ensure that people would be willing to hear you out. Here are some tips and things to consider:
FIRST, LEARN TO BE A GOOD LISTENER
People who are always talking and never listening will find that few people want to listen to them. One of the greatest keys to being heard is first learning to listen to others.
People normally pay attention to someone who rarely speaks. When they do speak, people want to know what they have to say. There is a fascinating verse in the Bible that clues us in on this concept: “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:28).
If you never demonstrate any interest in what other people have to say, they won’t be interested in what you have to say.
Talk less and listen more. When you do speak, it will be more moving and powerful.
RARELY TALK ABOUT PEOPLE
Gossip and slander are lousy ways to endear people to you. Most people understand that if you are willing to talk about someone else behind their back, then you are also just as likely to do the same to them.
There are people out there who have a ghoulish penchant for anything negative — just listen to what people like to hear on the news. Just remember, these same people will delight in hearing all the juicy gossip about you too.
A very wise man I once knew said this, “Weak minds talk about people, average minds talk about things, and great minds talk about ideas.”
We’ll discuss this in more detail in a bit, but talking about people is rarely substantive. Don’t be known as the local gossip. Don’t spend time slandering other people.
HAVE SUBSTANCE IN WHAT YOU SAY
You have substance in your conversation when you have first thought it out. Most people have no filter between their mind and their mouth, so whatever crosses the mind slides right out the mouth. Because there was no thought behind it, there was no consideration and there was no attention to consequences. Give some thought to what you intend to say.
Relevance is also another form of substance. When you talk about things that are immediately relevant to the person you are talking to, they will listen automatically. People who have no trouble getting someone to hear them out will probably not read this article. There is no relevance for them here, so they have no interest in “listening” to these words. But those who struggle in this area will read it, because it is relevant to them.
TALK ABOUT THINGS THAT INTEREST BOTH PARTIES
If your favorite subject is yourself, people will tire of listening to you. Choose topics of conversation that appeal to both of you. Don’t allow the conversation to become one sided.
Remember to listen to what the other person has to say.
In counseling, I first listen for as long as the other person needs to talk about the problem. Then, when I offer advice or a solution, I usually find that they are willing to listen to it. Not only is the conversation relevant, but it is important and interesting to both sides. Everyone is willing to talk and listen. That is the best kind of conversation.
TALK ABOUT POSITIVE THINGS MORE THAN NEGATIVE THINGS
Be careful about always having something negative to say. People tire easily of being forced to hear all the bad things that are happening in your life.
I’ll reveal a secret to you. When most people ask, “How are you doing?”, they don’t want a run down on every ailment, every negative event, every bad situation, and every problem you have. They are asking out of courtesy. People don’t want to listen to a lot of negative talk.
Do you enjoy being around depressed or negative people? No one does. Don’t be that person. Be upbeat and talk about positive things.
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