Actions or words?

I have a pet hate. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I hate it when I feel I haven’t been listened to or heard.

This bit of footage IMHO (and yes really, my opinion is quite humble. Well, sometimes it is…) is a classic example of how someone didn’t listen… >> http://youtu.be/7ffbFvKlWqE

In business many people feel they are not listened to or not heard. They feel that their voice just drifts into the ether. They feel that what they have to say is not valid to anyone, but them.

It’s human nature to want to be heard. Not being heard or listened to can contribute to the frustration and conflict that becomes pervasive at work, and, for that matter, at home.

It’s not rocket science really but it does seem blindingly obvious that the path to improved collaboration, and also the ability to be more creative in an organisation, lies in allowing people to speak their minds openly and by listening to what they say. Only then can the best ideas be discovered, sorted out and negotiated for mutual benefit.

But – there’s always a but – as desirable as being heard and listened to is, it is not something we are born or entitled to, but something that rests with ourselves and how we negotiate for it.

To be heard and listened to is a privilege that must be earned. People at work are invariably too busy to listen to everyone who wants to speak to them. Being heard and listened to, in my view, has to be negotiated through your daily interactions with others.

In the economics of being heard and listened to, there is an exchange process to apply here, some simple maths if you like. You have to give of yourself to gain what you want. You have to know what you are talking about.  To negotiate for their attention, your listeners have to be confident that you know what you speak of. They have to see you as trustworthy, honest and credible.

They say that actions speak louder than words. I think that in the most part actions simply reinforce the words. There are the people whose actions speaks so loudly to you that you do not need to hear what they say. That’s the nirvana I am aiming for.

One thought on “Actions or words?

  1. Hi – listened to that Youtube clip. Clinton is a smooth operator but did he answer the question any better than Bush? People – whether politicians or in business can choose what they want to interpret by both actions and words depending on their own agendas – that’s natural and irrespective of whether the morality/culture is one where people *should* be entitled to have their intended thoughts communicated. Different forms of communication work better/worse depending on the audience. Actions don’t speak louder than words in work generally if work is about intellectual ideas or negotiating deals or solutions to problems. But the way in which influencing is effected is what makes the difference. I guess what I’m saying is that different clusters of people in the world of work (or outside) will have their own fairly unique pathways to navigate through if an individual wants to influence them in a certain way. The key here is to be flexible enough to be able to operate in as many mediums as possible. Clinton could talk to bankers as well as chain gangs, as well as children, and the elderly. Its a gift that irrespective of your own political leanings, should be acknowledged!

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