FOCUS: How to get people to listen to you

By Ben Fanning, contributing editor  |  What do you do when you have the solution but no one is listening to you?   Do you say it louder, tell the boss or keep saying it until you just give up in resentment?



If you’ve experienced this frustration, I’ve got a much easier approach to share with you.  Try using the language of success to increase:

  • Effective communication
  • Openness to your ideas
  • Acceptance of your requests

The mindset of an employee versus the language of success

In life, it seems easier to rely on job titles and organizational authority to get things done.  This shows up whenever someone at a higher level in the organization asks (makes) someone else at a lower level do something, for example, when the CEO tells a manager to implement a new system or program.  This can be effective short term, especially in a crisis when every second counts. But when it’s used repeatedly, this approach starts to lose its power.

On the other hand, the language of success doesn’t rely on job titles. It relies on influence and connecting on a personal level to compel others to take action. Over time, it establishes trust which has a more effective impact on work.

Now, imagine someone invites you to an interesting lunch and learn or a fun happy hour. You don’t attend because you “have to.”  You attend because you want to.

Consider if you had the same excitement and engagement to attend the weekly staff meeting or roll out a new initiative?  That’s what using the language of success can do.

Increase your success in any job

16.0627.earAlthough job titles and organizational structures aren’t going away any time soon, adopting the language of success will increase your effectiveness

In fact, I’ve been sitting here trying to imagine a single job where the language of success isn’t crucial for staying sane, making an impact with less effort, and long-term success … and I can’t think of a single one.

Maybe a janitor? Nope.

Janitors make their job easier not by explaining how everyone can help them do their work.  They do it by explaining the benefits to everyone else. The life of a janitor isn’t easy, but utilizing a little language of success can make it better.

How will anyone ever appreciate or even acknowledge the janitor’s work if they don’t explain how their work makes it easy for you to come into the office and get right to work without worrying about cleaning up the coffee spill and crumbs from yesterday’s lunch?

How does the janitor get everyone to put the trash can outside their office doors?  Not by telling them to do it.  They just explain how it 100 percent guarantees that the trash gets taken out, any funky smells are removed, and they will have a nice, fresh trash bag waiting on them upon their arrival the next day.

How to use the language of success

Try adding a few simple techniques to your own work day and notice how much more effective you can be:

  • Start with what’s it in for them – Before you walk into a staff meeting or write an email, consider how your request, idea, or program benefits your audience. Jot down a few ideas and share them early on in your communication. For an example revisit the top of this article.  “More effective communication; Increased openness to your ideas; Greater acceptance of your requests.”  All this stuff benefits YOU.
  • Identify a call to action – In your own communication be specific about what you would like others to do. So many meetings, calls, emails, etc., leave the audience hanging on what’s next.  Start including this at the end of all your communication. Share with them what you would like them to do. Notice at the end of this email how I’m asking you to share this article with others who could benefit.
  • Test and tweak – Mastering the language of success isn’t a one-and-done thing. It’s a process that you practice, test and tweak as you go along.  It can take some time to perfect your approach, but keep going and you’ll start to notice the results.

So where will you use the language of success in your work day?  Try it and notice how people listen.

Please share this article with someone you know who could benefit.


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