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Why won't others listen to me?

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

How do we get someone to see our point of view? How many times have you started telling someone your point of view just to be met with resistance?

There are many things that create resistance but I would like to hone in on one in particular. That is, the other person's desire to be understood. Until the person you are trying to influence feels that you understand their position, you will have a hard time gaining any influence.

It is helpful if you think of the process in 2 distinct steps.

1) Allow the other person to talk and ensure they feel totally understood. You can clarify your understanding by asking questions. Think of it as an "emptying out" from the other person. Regardless of what they say, you just keep listening until they are done.

2) Now, you can move to phase 2 which is giving the person your opinion.

By allowing the person to be heard you will lower their resistance and they will be more open to your ideas.

Sometimes, our tendency is to start giving our opinion right at the start of the conversation and this puts the person on the defensive. Once the person launches their defense we respond defensively. The conversation can lead to a dead end rapidly.

Try allowing the other person to "empty out" before you start giving your opinion and see where the conversation leads. Start off by saying something like, "tell me about what happened regarding......." Then, sit back and resist any temptation to interrupt.

Would you ever start putting groceries into the trunk of your car without first opening the trunk lid? Of course not. That is what you are attempting to do when you start giving your opinion to a person that is not allowed to express their full opinion first. Go through the process of opening up their mind so that you can make it easier for them to accept your ideas.

Family with father's back turned away

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