Last week I wrote about big mouths so it seems fitting to ask whether or not you would like ear plugs with that. You might think, yeah if I had ear plugs I wouldn’t have to hear the big mouth. The same question can be posed to the big mouth. While the big mouth is busy talking, he’s not doing much listening. If he isn’t going to use those ears of his, he might as well insert the plugs too.
It seems so obvious it’s laughable but when you are in the presence of someone who does not listen, it’s no laughing matter. You know how it goes- you meet someone and they have no shortage of stories to tell about themselves. You figure at some point they have to give you a moment but it seems they can motor on incessantly. So maybe you do need the plugs but there is a better way to deal with the poor listener.
Set Your Priorities
As with the big mouth, once again it starts with you. You must determine what’s at stake by allowing the big mouth to drone on, to tune him out or to call him out. You always have options; it’s a matter of priorities. If it’s a passing encounter and the impact is little more than your rattled nerves, let him go on or just tune him out. If it’s a matter of significance and your words need to be heard, call him out. You need not be a slave to the poor listener. It’s important though to set your priorities so that you are better equipped to choose the best course of action.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are not being heard AND you have concluded that it matters, you most certainly should take action. But consider how it might feel if the shoe was on the other foot. Whether or not you expect to be dealing with this person in the future, a little kindness goes a long way. Especially when confronting someone with a difficult subject such as this. Quite often it’s not what you say but the way in which it is said.
Timing Is Everything
If there’s one thing you want to do, it is strike while the iron is hot. And the last thing you want to do is strike while the iron is hot. In the heat of the moment you are aching to be heard and you want to be heard now. Jumping up and down will get the attention you seek but in all probability you will never achieve the goals you have in mind. As for most emotionally-charged circumstances, it’s best to wait until the dust settles.
Unless you live on an otherwise uninhabited island, communication is vital to getting things done. The big mouths and poor listeners of the world are not going away but that doesn't mean you cannot have effective communication. Stand up, speak out and be heard but just remember, the other guy needs to be able to do the same thing.