There are three common situations where people aren’t being heard, which can easily make a person feel both denigrated and disrespected.
Here are three strategies that empower you to claim the power of your voice in these situations, and to ensure that people listen to what you wish to say.
SITUATION #1 – You’re in a conversation with one or more people and someone interrupts you when you are in the middle of talking.
Besides it being disrespectful and ill-mannered, what is so annoying about an interruption? It’s a boundary issue. There you are trying to share something and somebody interrupts you. They’re infringing upon your boundary, your right to say something.
So what do you do?
I’m a big believer in using good manners as a wonderful weapon to counteract a rude interruption.
So you very politely interrupt the interrupter, “I beg your pardon, I haven’t speak finish speaking yet.” or “ I haven’t finished sharing my idea.”
It may also help to kind of put up one of your hands and say, “Just a minute. I haven’t finished speaking yet.”
Tone of voice is very important here. Not snarky, not rude. And don’t wait to do this, because if you let them keep talking, they have gotten away with interrupting you.
SITUATION #2 – You make a suggestion at a meeting and it’s either poo-pooed or shot down or simply not greeted with any enthusiasm.
And sometime later, maybe even at the same meeting (or at the next meeting, a month, two months, or a year later), somebody comes up with the very same suggestion or something similar to the one that you made. And all of a sudden it’s the greatest idea since Swiss cheese, but it was your idea, right?
You’re the one who planted the seed. What do you do?
Again, good manners come to your rescue.
Here’s a wonderful way to call out someone for taking credit for your idea suggestion, without being nasty or snarky about it. “You know, I’m really honored that George picked up on the suggestion I made earlier (or made at our meeting last month). George, I really appreciate that you brought it to everybody’s attention again. That makes me feel really good.”
Once again, tone of voice is really important. And this method lets everybody know in a nice way that it was you who made the suggestion originally. Maybe when you keep doing that, people will start giving you credit where credit is due right from the start.
SITUATION #3 – You’ve taken a major role on a team project. There’s something that has to be done and you’re the basic person who’s done most of the work. Yet when it comes time to present the results and the work, somebody else takes credit.
They stand up and start talking about how their team did all of this. My goodness, that’s really annoying. This is a situation where being proactive is better than trying to set the record straight after the fact. How?
Offer to make notes of any decisions, who is responsible for what and by what time; so that everyone on the team can avoid future confusion and disagreements.
The first benefit is that a written record helps to ensure that everybody is clear about what they’re supposed to do, and by when it is to get done. After you’ve typed up the notes, you share them with everybody who was in the meeting and ask if there are any corrections that need to be made.
If you’re in an organization where you have to answer to a manager or a boss , it may be appropriate to share your notes with that person as well.
So it becomes very clear without you saying word one, who is doing important work in the group. Furthermore, you position yourself as a leader.
And without saying anything out loud, you automatically get credit for what you’ve done because the person that keeps track of everything is a very important person on any project. Besides that, you’re the one that keeps everything moving. Because of these notes, everybody knows who needs to do what, who owns what tasks and what the deadlines are.
This is really crucial because you avoid what I consider among the most useless types of arguments in the world.” He said, she said” arguments. “This is due on the 13th.” “No way. We said it was going to be the 15th.”
Whether it’s the the corporate, the business, or the volunteer world, keeping notes of who’s responsible for what, when stuff is due, and getting everybody to agree that the notes are accurate, is a very effective way to run any organization, any project, any business.
And it’s also a very effective way to ensure that nobody can take credit for your work ever again.
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