Jun 13, 2014

We all have times when it feels like we are talking to a brick wall at work. We can tell that people see us, but it feels like no one is listening to what we are saying.

Often it’s not the listening part that’s the trouble, it’s the understanding part. People hear what we are saying, but they are choosing not to understand and care.

How do you get them to understand? Turns out that it’s merely a matter of common sense.

Time

You can’t expect people to understand what you are saying immediately. It’s important to give them time to let it sink in. Many people require quiet time away to mull over information and come to conclusions as to what it means to them. So don’t be put off if people don’t seem to understand right away.

Prep and Follow-Up

Preparing people ahead of time for your information is a good way to put them in the right mind for understanding. It allows them to clear their heads and be ready to work with you. Additionally, following up afterwards allows you to fix any misunderstandings and provide them with more information if they need it.

Listen

You shouldn’t expect that delivering information is a one-way endeavor. You need to listen to what they have to say about the information as well. Maybe they understand what you are saying, but are having difficulty seeing how it applies to them, how they are expected to utilize it or are frustrated because it conflicts with information they already have. Remember that communication should always be a two-way street.

Walk in their Shoes

Everyone is busy with their own distractions and jobs they need to get done. Keep this in mind when you are delivering information. If you expect people to be able to just understand and implement without pause or thought, then you will be disappointed. Before delivering information, particularly important information that must be understood, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself how it will affect them. You might end up changing how you deliver it. At the very least, if you can be empathetic to their situation they will be more willing to work with you towards understanding.