Why is nobody listening? I have had countless conversations where I know the other party could care less. I have had people look down at their phone or even engage in another conversation as I was speaking. I chalk it up to rude behavior and a general attention span epidemic. But before blaming something else, I may want to look in the mirror.

Uninterested people’s eyes glaze over, they look beyond you and fight the urge to yawn. When engaged, they make eye contact, hold it and nod in agreement. We hold their focus and give them our focus in return. We pick up on the amused twinkle in their eye, the half smiles or other emotions they exhibit. We see that we’re both engaged in the free flow of conversation.

Look, we all listen better when we like the people we are engaged with. In turn, when they respect you, they listen better and spend more time with you. When you respect them, they know it. When you admit what you don’t know, they respect that, too.

I know many of us feel strongly that we have something to say. And on some level, we have a need to be heard and when we aren’t we get frustrated. Sometimes we get angry, other times we just give up.

We may be very proud of our knowledge of the market or the solutions we offer, but everyone seems really busy and, quite frankly, uninterested. If we truly want to connect with others and be heard, we learn to listen.

Here are some thoughts on building mutual respect and listening when nobody wants to talk to you:

Determine who your audience is. Talk with likely candidates and listen to them. Find out what matters and uncover their stories. Utilizing the content creation process is a great way to listen and demonstrate that you care about them. When people see you have engaged with people like them and have distributed content that exhibits your understanding, they will begin to trust you.

Speak to your audience in a way that expresses your genuine desire to share what you have learned—that you are part of their community. Dig deep into the subject and take a unique approach to getting your content in a place where they can find you. People engage on their own time and at their own pace. If they discover you, they will take some ownership in the relationship.

Be a good listener. The path to capturing attention, sparking interest and opening closed minds is to listen first. Using the power of research and discovery is critical. That’s a great way to listen when nobody wants to talk to you and shows that you are someone to be heard.

We greatly improve our odds when we stop talking and start listening. And the publishing process is the way to listen when nobody wants to talk to you in person.

Mark Potter

Mark Potter

CEO, Conduit, Inc.

Mark Potter is the CEO of Conduit Inc, a content marketing organization, which produces a variety of publications and community building programs including CANVAS Magazine. In addition, Mark is the author of the book, Egrets, Hockey Sticks, & Roller Skates and sits on the Electronic Document Scholarship Board.