Can You Hear Me? How to Get People to Care About What You’re Saying
Kat / Vertical Axion
You may be an avid speaker with an organized, eloquent speech, but that doesn’t mean that you’re really connecting with your audience. Have you ever started your talk and realized that you’re not “vibing” with the rest of the room? Maybe you’ve spoken to an employee who nodded in understanding with your requests only to continue their previous habits.
To you, it may be a simple concept: if you communicate quickly and concisely, everyone will understand you. In fact, you may think it’s impossible for someone not to understand you.
Unfortunately, this is a far shot from reality. You can use facts and eloquently thought-out details to tell a story to your audience, but your goal isn’t to just tell a story – it’s to affect and influence them. You want them not only to think, but to feel something beyond just communication. And in this, we see the key to getting people to listen to what you have to say: touching on emotions.
Members of an audience don’t think like leaders do. If your audience can feel and experience what you’re saying, you’re not going to make much of an impact. You must connect, and connect deeply. Research shows that people, in general, have special structures in the brain that trigger compassion and empathy. This can happen whether there’s a starving puppy in front of them, or you’re making them feel it through a moving statement.
Helio Fred Garcia, the director of the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership, says it nicely: “Emotion is now increasingly recognized as the key to moving hearts and minds,” says Garcia. “All too often leaders assume that facts matter,” he says. “That if only we let the facts speak for themselves, people will understand and agree with us.”
So don’t try to force someone to understand something through words alone – find a way to touch their hearts and minds through engagement, memorable moments, verbal cues and well-timed silence.