Of course people should listen. Professionally there is a powerful reason to learn to listen and to learn how to show you listen to the other person. (see How to become really good at effective listening).
However, if you wish to be heard it really helps if people actually hear you. This is much more effective than waiting until the training kicks in and they start listening.
This is the first in a two-part series on how to be heard when you want to be heard, in a way that fits with who you are.
Being heard is possible!
Being heard is of critical importance to both men and women, although the experience of not being heard is still an overwhelmingly female experience.
Not being heard destroys your self-confidence. On the other hand, when you are able to turn around this condition, this has a huge positive impact on a negative self-image and its consequences for social effectiveness.
Here’s a boost for all of us, male and female, whose voices deserve to be heard – but aren’t. It is actually possible to be heard, even if your experience up until now shows you the contrary. There are just some things you need to pay attention to.
Are you being heard?
To be heard you have to use your voice and the words you choose in a way that serves you, your purpose, and the situation.
So why are you not being heard now, and how can you take care of being heard in the future?
What do you sound like to others?
People judge each other much more than they realize on the sound of the voice they hear. Probably you have the experience meeting someone you only knew from phone calls. Here the phenomenon of building an internal image based on the voice is readily apparent. Yet we do this all the time.
Your voice is a vehicle made of sound, timbres, intonations, inflections, pitch, and volume. All these things influence how you are heard, but also if you are heard. Is your voice ‘hear-worthy’ to others? For instance, a high voice appears to people to be much less authoritative than a lower voice. Leadership skills are associated more with low male voices. Women with lower voices also score higher as potential leaders than women with higher voices. A soft speaking voice seems to suggest insecurity, fear, and introversion.
In both cases people tend to listen less to these voices. You are not being heard. You are not heard figuratively, in the case of high-pitched women voices, or literally, in the case of people with a lower voice volume.
So what do you do when you have a high female voice, or when your voice does not carry well? Do you lower your voice or up the volume? The answer is: NO!
Being heard follows from showing who you are with confidence
The more your voice matches your identity, your social and professional personality, and your role, the better you are listened to. Like your body, your voice cannot lie. We hear if people are reasonably integrated and self-confident, although we are usually not consciously aware of this. When your voice does not match your manner, people react by not trusting you or dismissing you.
Essentially your voice should fit with the idea you have of your self. As with so many things related to career and life it comes down to the degree your social being is integrated and true to whom you are. This is not the result of some magical formula, but just the result of self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and the steady process of being able to take self-responsibility.
- Self-knowledge in this case means you are aware of what your voice sounds like to other people. It also means you know when the voice you use does not match your ‘natural’ stress free voice.
- Self-acceptance means a little more than being able to accept you sound the way you do. It also means you are able to feel confident about yourself, whatever the sound of your voice.
- Self-responsibility means you take responsibility for finding ways to be heard. For example by using the practical tips we will give you in the next article in this two-part series. It also means you learn how to use your voice so you can be heard. This self-responsibility means you take matters into your own hand. You will be heard!
To be continued: Part II, with practical tips and tools on how to be heard.Being heard follows from showing who you are with confidence. Click To Tweet
How we can help you to be heard and achieve your goals:
You need two things to be heard. People need to be able to literally hear you when you say something. That is what the next blog in this series is about. The second thing you need is more important. In fact, we think it is key to achieving your goals. You need to be able to make your point in a way that reflects who you are. To earn confidence from people, you need to have self-confidence first. That is the point we made in this blog, and it is what we offer to achieve with you in coaching. Why not try if it works for you, too?Contact us