Nobody’s Listening

You may be the most senior person in the room. You may be the boss. Heck, you may even own the company! But that doesn’t mean they are listening to you. Don’t let that happen to you.

It can if you’re not careful and mindful of these SIX Behaviors to Hold People’s Attention and Lead Successfully:

#1: Avoid Dominating Conversations/Meetings

By definition, you’re the leader of the meeting since they report to you. Do not take advantage of it. Domination comes in many forms. You can:

  • Over-communicate about an issue.
  • Become too professorial by lecturing
  • Jump to a conclusion (invariably the one you decided on just before the meeting)

Every one of these behaviors shuts people down and worse, does not affirm them. That’s when they start tuning you out.

#2: Lose the Swagger

Everyone knows you run the show, don’t push it. You get a “hall-pass” on just about everything, take advantage of none of them. Instead, let someone else’s swagger present itself. Others will notice that you don’t always have to be the center of attention.

#3: Be Forebearant

Definition: Patient restraint, keeping oneself in check when provoked. 

It’s easy to be provoked. Your day is busier than everyone else’s (or at least, that’s what you think!). When you’re in a meeting, “be there”/“be present”, with no distractions. Just because you’re ahead of everyone’s thinking doesn’t give you the right to leapfrog/hijack the conversation. Give their ideas a chance to live so that you don’t send them on a goose chase after what you think is the only solution: yours.

#4: Guard Your Time

Avoid spending time vetting an issue others should be vetting. You do not have the luxury anymore to wax poetically about “what ifs” or alternative realities.  Every time you do, you diminish your responsibility as a leader of people. The return on this behavior will be increasingly minimal so, keep it in check.

#5: Stay On Message/Be Concise & Clear

Mastering the organization of informative or persuasive communication is mission-critical for you, your image, and legacy. If you don’t know how to do this, get coaching on it. Boards are notorious for their sensitivity towards this skill. They want and deserve to be motivated. A great Board member of a Fortune 100 company once said to me, “What I most want to say to my CEO is ‘Great, what do you need from me?'”

#6: Give Credit to a POV

Please find and do this. Your job is to grow others. It’s to foster an environment where people feel they can contribute without fear of public critique, or worse you one-upping them. Listeners know when someone should be acknowledged for their smart contribution, don’t do it and you risk being labeled a know-it-all or unappreciative. You just lost your audience’s attention, perhaps forever.

Are they listening to you? If you don’t know, give me and call and we will find out together!