How to Speak to Be Heard
Most people talk but find it frustrating when they are not heard.
Why aren’t people listening?
What do you assume when you are not heard?
You assume you are not being valued. It is a cycle that happens over and over with my clients, I mean honestly it still happens in my life too, and it has a solution.
Our voice is so much more than sound coming out of our flapping vocal cords powered by air. It is the bridge from inside us to the outside world. And we all know what that means: Vulnerability.
So let’s start with the assumption that nothing is ever wrong with you, and give you tips to speak to be heard. Believing you are unconditionally valued is a whole other topic, so just assume you are already valued. Done.
To be heard. We first need to be here.
That means in this moment, in our body, on the planet.
Most people are in the future, floating around in their head rather being fully embodied with presence. Most people are frantically scanning other people’s faces to figure out if they are liked or accepted or being received while they are talking. Most people do not know how to deal with emotions so they talk around their truth, rather than courageously speak up and be clear.
Step 1: BE CLEAR
I actually put one of my clients on a word diet. Her homework was to use as little words as possible to communicate her point. And then stop, put a period.
“I feel you aren’t hearing me.”
(Stop speaking, wait for the other person to digest what you said, do not say 2-3 more things in an attempt to over explain so they get you. Let them get you with the first comment. Wait, even if it is uncomfortable.)
Then help the other person meet your needs rather than expect them to read your mind and magically know how to be to make you happy. That is unfair to them and ineffective for you.
Communication is like playing catch. You can’t just keep throwing balls at them and expect them to catch it. Or throw no balls (clam up) and expect them to catch those. You are responsible for being heard. Consider your points, then speak them out loud. If all you want to do is rant, just tell them that. Then the expectations are clear, and everyone wins.
Step 2: Stop filling the space with words just to fill space and avoid silence.
Stop filling the space in between dialogue with more words just to fill space and avoid silence.
It took a ton of healing and transformational work on myself to eventually feel comfortable being me being with others. I no longer felt the need to do a song and dance to be liked, or moreover figure out the song other people would like, dance to that awkwardly, so they would like me. I’m glad those days are over! Now, if there is silence, there is silence. I don’t need to fill it. I can be me, sing my own song, and dance to my own music.
Just wait for the next natural flow of conversation.
Even if it is a heated conversation and the stakes are high, allow for space. Space is magic. We are so afraid of this amazing space that is very natural. The ocean doesn’t only flow, wave after wave, there is an ebb. There is space. Like an inhale, and exhale. Just breathe in the space, rather than fill it. You’ll see.
If it feels uncomfortable just ride that wave and be with your truth.
Step 3: Don’t shrink, contort, or censor yourself in exchange for acceptance.
When you change you to be liked, you are not being liked. Your representative is being liked, the persona you think you need to be is being accepted. But, here’s the thing. All of it is fake. You aren’t being you, and the person is robbed of really getting to know you. Now you have to be this persona all the time, and never truly feel accepted. So since that method has been exhausted, just be you. Sounds trite, but it’s profound.
Be bold, be soft, be quiet, make a statement that matters to you, don’t try to fix people or convince them to see the world your way, let people be themselves, so you can be you. As you do this you naturally will find the people who actually are like you. You will be heard, because you will connect with the people that can hear you. Naturally.
When you think you need to be different, you will never feel like you fit in. In a room full of “friends” you will still feel alone.
Show up, be seen, be heard.
It is truly up to you to claim this for yourself.