Want to Be Heard? Listen

I work with many different people. All of them have something important to say.

All of them.

My favorite part of my job is to listen, encourage, coach and ultimately help my clients understand why they need to get really good at telling their story. And why no one else can tell it as well as they can.

That’s where the trouble begins.

Today, there are millions of people clamoring to be heard. Together, we’re all looking at this mosh pit of thoughts, and we’re terrified of throwing ourselves into it. The fear comes from unknown sources. Most of the time, it’s not even identified as fear.

It’s described as too difficult to learn, or not important enough to warrant the time, or too time consuming.

You’d rather someone else do it for you. And, if you ask enough people, you might find someone who will do it for you. But then, it’s not your story. It’s their version of your story.

So what’s the solution?

Maybe this is a simplification, but I don’t think so.

  1. You need to understand the power of your voice.
  2. You need to leverage the relationships you have now.
  3. You need to listen to the stories of those around you.
  4. You need to care about their stories first.

You’re a human being, first and foremost. And, no matter what you say, the studies reveal that your most basic human need is connection. Without this, we cannot thrive. It’s no different in your business. You need connection in order for your business to thrive.

The trouble is, there’s too much noise pollution, and for some reason all of the good and decent messages are being throttled down by the gimmicks and the lies. You, know that feeling you get when you’re running close to your allotted data with your service provider, and nothing seems to work well? That’s called throttling your data. What if we could throttle up the good stuff? I believe we can.

Your voice is worth sharing.

If more of us believed that, maybe we’d be able to throttle down the noise and we’d eventually be where we all want to be: valued.

But the deck is currently stacked against you. If I told you to go out and start writing your brand story, and you took that blog section of your company website — the one that you’ve been neglecting for 5 years, and went to town, that would be an excellent start. But I would be willing to bet all of my marbles that it wouldn’t last. You’d only have half of the point.

You’d come out of the gates on fire. “Excited! Yes, it’s time to tell my story. I have so much to say, people will want to hear my message. The story is so good!” And you’d write. One post, maybe two posts. If you’re really motivated, you might write a week, or even a month’s worth of posts. And, you’d share them with your friends and your family.

“Hey, check this out, I wrote this. Can you give it a look, maybe a comment, or a “like” or  a ❤?”

But no one would really be that interested. Sure, your mom and dad, your employees, your friends (the really nice ones), would take a look at one, or two of them, until you’d be just another voice in the crowd, another distraction among the other thousands each person must deal with each day.

The point isn’t in just telling your story, it’s in making your story worth hearing.

While your voice is important, and your story matters, the real way to be heard is to start by listening. Answering questions, letting other, important voices be heard too — lifting the voices that matter above the noise and sharing a glimmer of what’s important in this world filled with click bait and fake news. Giving a little, gets you so much further today than it ever has, because, quite frankly, we’re all wanting the same thing, and the ones who are going to get what they need, are the ones who step forward and give it to others first.

I don’t suggest that this is easy. But I do suggest that it is necessary.


Also published on Medium.

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