I’m not one to air my dirty laundry… and in all honesty, I don’t have that much…but on Sunday night I had a big fight with my husband.
We were having a bit of a heated discussion (so emotions were high) and the he did something I despise. He asked me how I felt and just as I was getting into a response, HE INTERUPPTED ME TO TELL ME HOW HE FELT. He wasn’t listening to me.
There’s nothing that make us feel unvalued faster than not being heard.
And, of course, it’s not just husbands that do this.
It’s best friends, bosses, coworkers, moms. It’s the woman who does your hair, your bartender. It can be anyone.
I was kind of lucky that this happened with my husband, because once I calmed down a little I was totally comfortable telling him, “You have a communication problem. You don’t listen.” (trust me, he heard that LOUD and CLEAR) But, obviously, you can’t exactly say that to your boss and sometimes it’s tough to say that to a friend.
So what do you do when your feelings are heart, your confidence is shot, but you still have something important to say? Try these 3 tips for getting your message across when you’re not being heard.
1. Step Back
If you’re feeling emotional, it can be a struggle to get your message out there in a way that will really be heard. Take a brief step back and evaluate what’s at the root of your emotional response and ask yourself how you can use that to your advantage. I’m not talking about being manipulative here, I’m talking about strategically using your emotions to be a more effective communicator – there’s a difference.
2. Write It Out
If you’re blocked by emotion and struggling to articulate your point of view to the audience in question, write it out. Writing can be very therapeutic and a great means to get to the root of your message. You don’t need to share what you wrote, but it is a great tool to develop talking points to move the discussion beyond frustration and into something more valuable.
3. Flip the Script
Chances are, if someone is interrupting you to get their point across, they’re lacking confidence around the topic and feel like their opinion doesn’t matter, either. (That, or you’re dealing with a huge asshole – we’ll leave this one for another day.)
Start by focusing outward on how they feel, not how you feel. This may seem counterintuitive, because what you have to say matters, but trust me, it works! Make them feel the way you want to feel by validating their point of view and then use it as a bridge to explain your own.
What are your best tips for keeping your cool and getting your message out there when you’re not being heard?