Terrible Listener

Hi everybody, I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people like you. Here’s this week’s question:

I work for somebody that’s a terrible listener, and I’m married to someone that’s a terrible listener. It drives me crazy. Any help would be appreciated.

You guys know I don’t always say the nices things, so I’m going to try to answer this question nicely.

First, evaluate what kind of communicator you are. If you’re a person that talks incessantly and never stops then nobody’s going to be a good listener. So the first thing you have to do is evaluate whether you’re communicating clearly.

Then, assuming you’re a good listener and you communicate in concise, clear, easy to understand ways, then just tell them! “I really need you to listen to what I’m about to say.” Just teach them to listen.

Now, let me tell you what not to do. Don’t start criticizing them and saying things like “You don’t listen to anything I say.” Don’t do that. Sometimes, what you have to do is you have to teach a person to be a better listener. So, for instance, the other day I was having a conversation with Laura. Laura was multitasking, she was doing several things. Now I will tell you right now that anybody that tells you they’re a ‘good multitasker’ is wrong. The fact is you cannot multitask well. You just can’t. Something is going to fade. So I was having a conversation with Laura, and Laura was doing a bunch of things and I said this to her: “This is something that we really need to talk about, and I know you’re really busy. Let me know when there’s a good time to just focus on this.” And because she’s fair and nicer than me, she stopped and listened.

So, sometimes you can’t blame them. Sometimes you just have to go “So, here’s what I’m about to say, I need to talk about this, and I really need your attention, is now a good time?” Ask for permission!

Hope that’s helpful, I’m Mike Staver, this is Mondays with Mike. Take care.

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