When they don’t listen to you

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Why are people not listening to you? What can you do to make sure people listen to you more?

This can be frustrating when you have valuable ideas, views and builds to the conversation, and you leave the meeting feeling irritated, limited or even blocked.

Moving forward starts with diagnosing why people are not listening to you, and what is holding you back.

I share my strategies to make sure you are fully heard, seen and acknowledged for the great value you bring to your team and organisation.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Diagnosing your issue
  • The reason why people are not listening to you
  • Strategies for when you feel the confidence challenge of speaking up
  • Strategies for when you prefer an introverted, reflective energy in meetings
  • Strategies for when others dominate the meeting and you can’t get a word in edgeways
  • Strategies for when you express your opinion, but your opinion is not acknowledged or considered

Find out more:


Hello and a very warm welcome to Cultural Communication Confidence, with me Victoria Rennoldson, and welcome back to the show. Today we’re going to be talking about a topic, which I know I get asked about a lot by my clients and by other people, which is: why don’t they listen to me? Now, this is an really interesting topic, because clearly, you want to to be heard. You probably have very valuable insights and opinions that you can bring to your team discussions to help move projects forward, to help move business forward. But there’s something happening in the reason why you’re not being listened to, and so when we look at this, we have to diagnose what exactly is going on. And I think there may be a variety of reasons around why you are not listened to today.

Sometimes, one of those reasons is that you feel the challenge of speaking up – you feel that challenge to sound confident, to say what you’ve got to say. You maybe hesitate in your mind, and are trying to formulate the ideas before you share them. That might be because you doubt what you have to to share, maybe you have concerns about whether it’s new or different from what other people are saying. And so what happens is that you may just sit quietly, and while you’re thinking and considering whether to contribute, the conversation moves on, and you miss that opportunity to speak up. So this could be about the challenge of holding back from speaking up. 

Now, another reason why you might not be being listened to is that actually, your style and energy is much more introverted and reflective, so maybe you do have lots of great ideas and thoughts around what could change in a discussion, but you prefer to sit there and listen to what everybody else has to say first. You want to hear all of the opinions, and then to formulate what your perspective is, whether you align with one or two people, or whether you have a very different perspective. Now, I worked with a client recently, and she was very much this introverted, reflective style, and she was really good at coming up with very different fresh ideas once she considered everybody’s opinions. The challenge there though, is that sometimes this can be perceived negatively, particularly if you’re bringing in a very different point of view right at the end of a discussion. And there is also that risk that you also miss the opportunity that the discussion finishes within the meeting time, and there isn’t that opportunity for you to speak. So maybe you recognise yourself in this, that you have a more introverted, reflective energy.

Now, one key reason that maybe you don’t feel listened to, is that perhaps there are others in the room who are more dominant and more extrovert, and confident in the way that they speak. What that looks like is that they tend to have the greater share of voice. They effectively are louder, whether that is in person or virtually. And in fact, virtually, this can even be more of a challenge, because although there may be several people on the virtual call, it might be that some people are very happy to unmute and just say what they think, and perhaps that isn’t your natural, comfortable place, maybe you’re better in smaller breakout rooms, or one to one. I think it’s also particularly challenging in hybrid, when you have a group of people in the meeting room and then another group of people joining online. It can be quite difficult if you’re the person online, to get the attention of the others in the room, and that can be also another reason why others are dominating the conversation, and you don’t feel listened to. So do you recognise this one? 

The final reason that I want to share here today, is perhaps one of the most negative reasons here, which is that you feel that people are hearing your opinion, but then perhaps, either ignoring it, or telling you that your point is not relevant or appropriate in that discussion there and then. That clearly can feel quite negative, quite frustrating, and it certainly can feel like you’re not being listened to. So perhaps you recognise this particular reason for why you don’t feel listened to. I have described four different areas and reasons of what might be going on, but of course, you might experience all four of these, depending on the context, the meeting, or the group of people that you’re with. But what is of course incredibly important, is how do we move through this? What can we do to help ourselves to be listened to? This really connects to the reason why you’re not being listened to, so I’m going to go through each one, and explain the strategies and ideas that you can use and put into action, so that people will listen to you more. 

So let’s start with the first one, this was about the challenge of holding yourself back, waiting to contribute until you’ve formulated exactly what you want to say, or perhaps feeling underconfident about the way that you speak. This is a big area that many of my clients feel, and there are a number of different areas that can help here, but one of the most fundamental things is really thinking about your confidence mindset, really considering all the great value and ideas that you bring to the team, and why they’re important. Why people value you, and what you do, and recognising that you have a voice worth listening to. So this is about recognising your positive values, the things that you contribute, and allowing yourself to speak up. Confidence is part of it, Communication Clarity of course is part of it as well, feeling like you know how to express yourself clearly, articulately, and assertively perhaps in some situations, so this is really where you need to focus – building up your communication confidence and clarity. 

The second area was that, we talked about, the second reason was if you have this introverted, reflective energy. Now, if this is you, and this is naturally who you are and how you prefer to be in meetings, it’s going to take really conscious effort for you to change that. So what I want you to think about is, before your next meeting, what do you need to prepare to think what your opinion is on this topic? Really consider: ‘what is it that they are likely to be talking about. And what is your perspective?’ If you prepare that before you go in the meeting, that means you don’t have to necessarily wait to reflect on everybody else before you start speaking. The other thing that I do as an activity with my clients, is that I give them a challenge, I say to them: I would love for you to contribute within the first 50% of the meeting time. For example, if a meeting is 1 hour, I’d like you to challenge yourself to make sure you’ve said something, and expressed an opinion, in the first 30 minutes. This challenge creates for you that objective, that goal, which is to bring bring yourself into the conversation earlier on, and because you prepared your opinions and your ideas, you don’t have to be thinking so much and so hard in the meeting itself. So that is if you have that more reflective energy, that more introverted energy. 

Now, the next reason was all about if you feel like others are dominating the conversation and I appreciate this is quite challenging, because this is about managing others’ behaviours and what they’re doing. I think there are a couple of things that you can do, and actions you can take in this area. The first action is to really consider, that if you want to come into the conversation, then you need to signal – like a car – so you need to put your indicators on, or sometimes called ‘blinkers’, whether you’re going left or right in a car, when you’re moving the lane between the different lanes in the road. It’s exactly the same in conversations sometimes, if people are not seeing that you want to contribute, then you need to make your signals clearer. That might look like verbally thinking about the way that you interrupt, considering how you’re going to come into the conversation through what you say, and there are different techniques to do that, which I will put a link in the show notes, because I did an episode all around ‘is it appropriate to interrupt’, with some examples of the types of techniques and things that you can actually say. So that is one area, really considering what you’re going to say, how you’re going to signal to come into the meeting. 

The other area, which is just as important, is your non-verbal communication, and considering, particularly I would say, in person, how do you indicate that you want to come in? Now, what that looks like in practice, is that if I want to interrupt somebody, then I would lean slightly forward like this, if you’re watching this on video. And I would take an audible breath, and that draws attention, it helps people to see that you want to come in, that you want to interrupt and say something. When it comes to virtual, then use the virtual tools to make sure that you’re being heard, whether that is through raising your hand, whether indicating in the chat, or finding other tools, maybe challenging yourself to unmute, if that is the common way of communicating in your meetings. However, what I would say though, is that clearly this area also involves what others are doing in the room, or virtual room. So in some situations, if you find that others are dominating the conversation and not allowing other voices in, including your own, then you may need to flag this to the meeting owner, to talk about ways of working, and how to ensure that there is more equal share of voice, that others can be heard within the conversation. 

And then, the final area. The final area was all about, if you feel like you’re not being listened to, because people are actually choosing to ignore your opinion, They hear you, acknowledge it, but they say it’s not relevant or appropriate, or actually they just say they want to move on with the conversation in another direction. Now, this is potentially quite challenging as well, because clearly, you would want to be listened to, and this can be deeply frustrating if you feel that your point is important and relevant for the discussion there and then. What I want to advise to you, as a strategy, is to think about your communication through the line, and to recognise that the meeting is only one part of your interaction and your communication. In fact, there are many opportunities for you to communicate outside that environment, so I want you to think about, before the meeting, how can you precede your ideas? Particularly if they’re more challenging ideas, or different from the group, how can you precede these, with individuals that you know are influential in the conversation? By letting them know in advance what might come up, this could be a very helpful way to get them thinking about it, and for you to influence more effectively. There is the meeting itself of course, for you to raise these topics and explain why you think they’re important, but even if in the meeting the conversation is shut down, or people move on to different topics, remember there’s also the opportunity after the meeting, so to follow up one to one, or in small group discussion, to again continue the conversation and influence towards your idea, what you think is the right strategy and the right point. So this is what I mean by ‘through the line’ – the communication happens before the meeting, during the meeting, and also afterwards as well. So don’t miss those opportunities to be heard, to be listened to. 

So I’m really curious, which of these reasons is the reason why you’re not listened to today? And which of these strategies are you going to put into play, and activate, so that people listen to you more? I would absolutely love to know what you’re going to take from this episode and put into action, so why not reach out to me on LinkedIn, you can find me in my personal profile: Victoria Rennoldson’, and you can message me over there, and I would love to know what you’re going to take out from this, and make sure that you activate. If this has been a really helpful episode for you, then who else would find it helpful as well? I would love for you to share this with just one other person, one person who would find this helpful, who perhaps you know have these frustrations as well, with being heard and listened to. 

And then finally, if you know this is an area you’re feeling challenged by right now, and you need to go deeper on this topic, and get my perspective on how to help you to be listened to more, to be confident, and have that speaking clarity, so that people do listen to you, then I would love to give you clarity. We can do this in a clarity call, and meet for 30 minutes, so I can understand your situation, what’s going on, and give you some very clear pointers on what it is you should do next to move forward. If that would be helpful for you, then please feel free to take me up on that offer. I’m going to have three of these available for the next month. So, I am very much looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic, thank you so much for joining me for today’s episode, and I very much look forward to seeing you next time, on Cultural Communication Confidence.

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Cultural Intelligence certified facilitator
Cultural Intelligence certified facilitator 2
mybrain mind master practitioner
global chamber
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