Make sure you're heard

Make sure you're heard

No one likes to feel ignored. So if your great ideas are flowing in one of your boss's ears and streaming right out the other, use these solutions to get yourself heard.
Feb 01, 2006

You've got a great solution to improve client care or increase profits, yet somehow when you try to share your suggestion it's as if you've become invisible. No one seems to listen or care. Instead, your opinions and ideas are glossed over, put aside, or worse yet, never even acknowledged.

It seems as though nothing short of climbing atop the reception desk, dying your hair blue, and shouting at the top of your lungs will get you heard. And while this approach might get you noticed—and even make you feel better—it probably won't lend your ideas much credibility. So, hold off on that dye job, take stock, and try to identify the source of the disconnect.

Communication takes at least two people, so the problem may have something to do with your approach or your perception of the issue. Or you may need to learn more about how your boss or co-workers listen. These hearing aids will help you tackle your listeners' toughest hearing problems.


Think back to the situations where you felt ignored. Now be honest. Was it difficult to speak up? Did you clearly state what was on your mind, or did you stumble over your words for fear someone might think your suggestions were silly or stupid?


What ever happened to ... ?, Are you screened out?, When all else fails
What you have to say is important, and your colleagues really do want to know what you think, so take a risk. If you're the shy type and speaking in front of a group feels like standing before a firing squad, look for other ways to get your message out. Is there another team member you can share your thoughts with on the side? Could you speak to the boss one-on-one?

"Often clients will share things with one member of the staff that they don't share with the others," says Susan Payne, the practice manager at Haskell Valley Veterinary Clinic in Olean, N.Y. "And that piece of information could be vital to care decisions."

For example, a client at haskell confided to the receptionist that her husband had been laid off recently and the family's finances were strained. The client was worried about how to pay the bill—a fact she likely wasn't going to broadcast to the entire team. Because the receptionist spoke up about what she knew discreetly, the client was better served. Payne was able to offer an alternative payment option that the receptionist presented to the client in private. Another scenario: payne says clients will also offer personal information to the veterinary assistant before the exam begins that they might not share with the doctor later.


Six tips to be a better listener
Managers often suffer from the same type of selective hearing that afflicts children when you try to call them in from playing outside. You can yell until you've lost your voice and they will ignore you. Yet somehow, when you announce that dinner is ready, the kids can hear you from miles away.

Consider this: Are you presenting a problem or an idea with no support, or are you offering your audience a reason to listen?