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Are you listening or being reactionary?


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Not too long ago, I was walking in the rain to pick up my daughter from her afterschool program when I came upon an intersection that was partly blocked off for a construction project. The blockades made the street narrow, and it became bottlenecked with a car trying to make a right-hand turn and a garbage truck trying to make a left-hand turn in the opposite direction. When I arrived, the woman driving the car had no clearance. Her choices were to back up into the truck and dent her bumper or to pull forward, which she couldn't do because there was something stuck under the front wheel of her car. However, I saw that there was some space in front of the car, so I held my hand up to tell her not to move and pulled a large Xmas tree stand out from under the front wheel of her car. After removing the stand, the woman was able to safely pull forward and had enough clearance to make her turn without scraping her car. But before any of this could happen, the garbage truck driver jumped out of his vehicle, flailing his arms and yelling.


I tried to explain to him that the woman now had enough clearance to pull forward, but the blood had already rushed to the back of his head and he was nothing but reactionary. Instead of noticing that I was trying to say something, he started tossing all of the blockades onto the sidewalk, making more work for himself. At this point, I gave the woman in the car an empathetic look, told her, "good luck," and continued on my walk to pick up my daughter.

I imagine you can identify being in both positions as the person eager to communicate and as the person who is in a reactionary state and unable to fully listen.

So what are some solutions when communication becomes hard to do?


Here are 3 tips to consider, the next time you find yourself desperately trying to be heard:


  1. Take a deep breath and try to calm down. It can be difficult to communicate effectively when you're feeling agitated or angry. Taking a moment to calm yourself can help you approach the situation more rationally and be more open to listening to others.

  2. Use active listening techniques. This involves paying close attention to what the other person is saying, and then reflecting back on what you heard to show that you understand. This can help build trust and respect, and it can also help to clarify any misunderstandings.

  3. Try to see things from the other person's perspective. This can be especially helpful when you're in disagreement with someone. By trying to understand their point of view, you may be able to find common ground and come up with a solution that works for both of you.


Remember, effective communication is a two-way street (pun intended). It's important to be open to hearing what others have to say, as well as expressing your own thoughts and feelings. In public speaking, being able to listen actively to the audience's reactions and respond accordingly is crucial to maintaining their attention and interest. Additionally, by understanding and being able to express your own thoughts and feelings clearly, you can more effectively convey your message and connect with your audience.


If you want your business to grow in 2023 by getting your message in front of more people, please reach out for a 30-minute complimentary consultation.

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