Do you ever feel like you’re talking and no one is listening … like when you put your messages out there, you just hear crickets chirping?
This is more common than you might imagine, and there are a few simple things you can do to be heard.
Let’s start with why you’re not being heard and separate what you can control from what you can’t control.
Why You Aren’t Being Heard, Part 1: Things You Can’t Control
There is one reason in this category: The person you’re trying to reach has no capacity to hear what you’re saying.
You know when you’ve had a crazy busy day at work, didn’t get lunch, couldn’t seem to get anything finished, were constantly interrupted, and had to sneak off to pee just to take a deep breath? AND THEN you drive home through jacked up traffic, on a conference call, and overtly sending text messages to let your husband know you’re running late for your date night… AND THEN you get home to screaming kids who need to learn how to solve their own fights, but you end up stepping in…
This is the person who doesn’t have the capacity to listen to you. And though the circumstances may be different for each individual, if a person’s brain is overloaded they won’t be able to take in anything new or have space to process anything you’re sharing.
There is nothing that you can do about this. Just notice the other person’s state and pick a better time. But you’re not going to cut through this noise, so let’s move on to part 2.
Why You Aren’t Being Heard, Part 2: Things You Can Control
Number ONE! Your receiver does not care about what you have to share. Now, you might feel like this falls under the “things you can’t control” category, but I assure you it does not. Let’s qualify this statement. I’m under the assumption that you know who your target audience is and what they care about. If you don’t know those things, please take the time to do some market research. It’ll pay dividends. Literally.
So you know your target audience, but you’re just not getting through to them. What’s going on?
Your message is probably more about you and information than it is about them and their experience. And let’s be honest, most people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Your opportunity here: Make a heart-felt connection with the people you’re trying to reach. Put the importance of your information on a shelf and put the human first. (By the way, this really works at home, too.)
THE FIX: Put the human first. Go into their world. Connect from the heart.
Number TWO! Your words don’t make sense to the receiver. So this is like speaking English to a group of ducks. They simply do not understand what you are saying. But language probably isn’t the barrier, is it? It’s using the words of your profession or area of expertise while trying to reach people who use words of their experience.
You know how your doctor hits you with medical terminology and says “myocardial infarction” when she could have just said “heart attack?” Yeah. THAT.
Don’t worry - all the professions are famous for it - and that’s how they miss an opportunity to connect with their people and put themselves at risk for not being heard.
THE FIX: Put down your professional jargon. Use the language that your audience speaks.
NUMBER THREE! You aren’t clear about your message. You’ve got 154,367 points, and they are ALL important. And they commingle. And you can’t leave one out or else you’ll risk sharing the wrong thing. Yeah, I get that. I suffered from it, too. EVERYTHING IS IMPORTANT! Except it’s not.
The single most important thing to the people who are following you online is this: What’s in it for me?
Underneath every click, like, tag, and share is the sentiment of “What’s in it for me?”
And the only way you can answer that question is to know exactly WHO you’re talking to and WHAT they want to experience. And THAT will help you tailor your message. You can then draw a roadmap with your transformation stories. It’ll organize your information and give you clarity about what’s important TO THEM.
THE FIX: Focus on what’s important to your people.
The short version:
You’re not being heard because you don’t know the people you’re trying to reach, and you aren’t sharing your valuable message in a way that relates to them.
Not being heard at home? Come back next week when I translate these same 3 reasons into your personal life.
Tell me more about your communication gaps in the comments below.