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Hey, it’s Marie Forleo, and you are watching Marie TV, the place to be to create a business and life you love so much, and today it’s Q&A Tuesday, that’s right. Today’s question comes from Edda, and she writes, “Hello Marie, I hope this message finds you well. My question is how do I effectively get my point across to others and have it taken seriously? It seems as though I’m speaking Greek or something. I send emails, I speak up in meetings, and I’m ignored. My intention is to provide solutions to problems with innovative ideas in order to reach, and, or exceed goals. This is not just in my work life, but also, in my personal life. It’s frustrating that I can’t get through to those I care about. I would love to hear your perspective.” Sincerely, E.
Great question E, so let’s start off by recognizing that there’s two categories here. Things you can control, and things you can’t. In the camp of things you can’t you have to recognize that no matter how brilliant your ideas are, there’s always going to be some people who just have no interest in hearing about them. This is true for both in your work life and in your personal life, so it doesn’t matter how great your ideas are, or how wonderful of a communicator you are. You cannot make someone listen to your ideas if they’re just not interested. Now, let’s move on to the more fun category, things we can control. Like it or not, we all have communication patterns that undermine our power and authority.
I have them too, and I’m always trying to keep an eye out to form better habits, because making some small tweaks in the way that we communicate can make a world of difference in making sure that we are taken seriously, so while this list isn’t exhaustive, it’ll really help you become a more powerful and persuasive communicator. Number one is, don’t use too many fancy words. Why? Because it obscures your message, and it also weakens the chance that you’re going to be understood and taken seriously. Here’s an example. Individuals consciously recognize it when you are attempting in an overly strenuous way by utilizing complex verbiage to impress upon them that you are intelligent, and, or sophisticated.
In other words, people know when you’re trying too hard to sound smart. You even danced on the edge of it a little bit in your question when you wrote, “My intention is to provide solutions to problems with innovative ideas in order to reach, and, or exceed goals.” Right there you went from sounding like a totally relatable human being to sounding like a business robot. When in doubt, use simple words, and get right to the point. Number two is lose the dumb disclaimer, so you know this one, right? We all start off a sentence by saying, “Well, this might be dumb, but… Or, this might be silly, but… Or, this might be way off base, but…” Basically, we use the dumb disclaimer anytime that we’re not sure about what we’re about to say, or as a preemptive move if we think that other people aren’t going to like it.
We figure if we call it dumb before anyone else does, the rejection will hurt less, but the truth is all that disclaimer does is undercut your power, so stop doing it. Instead, you want to try something neutral like, “How about this idea, or what about this?” Number three is turn, yeah, but into yes, and. It’s a natural habit when any of us hear something we disagree, and then, we want to add our perspective, what we think is right to say, yeah, but, but you have to realize this, anything that’s followed by a but is going to kick up someone else’s defenses whether you’re in your personal life or in a creative meeting. For example, “I think that’s a good idea, but, or I love hanging out with you, but…”
Listen to how different it sounds when you say, “I think that’s a good idea, and…” As in, “I think that’s a good idea and here’s another perspective, or I love hanging out with you, and I think we’d have even more fun if…” Now, of course, if you strongly disagree with something then just disagree. However, if you haven’t been invited to offer your opinions, and you’re really trying to get a seat at the table using yes and can help you get your ideas heard. Number four is, be a knocker, so before you bust through that door with your big innovative ideas, it’s a good idea to give a little knock knock, and here’s how you do it.
You ask someone, “Ere you open to a suggestion for this? Or, would you like to hear an idea?” What this does is get the other person intrigued, and makes them feel like they’ve invited your feedback rather than getting bulldozed over by you, and all your innovation. Don’t be a bulldozer, be a knocker, because everybody loves knockers. Number five is, follow up. If you share an idea with the team, or you send out a proposal, make sure you follow up. Most people are so busy. I know I am, and I’m so grateful when people take the initiative, and move things ahead.
When you do follow up, don’t be mousy about it, and don’t say anything like this, “Dear Sam, I’m so sorry to bother you. I’m sure you’re so busy. By chance, have you had a moment to take a look at what I sent you? If not, no worries, but if it’s not too much trouble, I’d love your feedback. I think it’s possibly a very innovative solution.” Instead you can try something direct and clear like this, “Hi Sam, I’m following up on the proposal I sent you last week on a strategy for our social media content. In case you missed it I’m attaching it again, and I’d be happy to walk you through it. I know it’s been an ongoing challenge for us, and I really think this could solve it. I’d love to see if you agree. If there’s a better time to follow up, let me know, and I’ll circle back then.”
There you have it E, five solid strategies to help you achieve this Tweetable, communicate powerfully, and you’ll be taken seriously. That was my [inaudible 00:06:18] I really hope it helps. Now, I would love to hear from you. Have you ever struggled to be taken seriously? If so, what specific change in your communication, or approach made the biggest impact? Tell me in the comments below. Now, as always, the best discussions happen after the episode over at marieforleo.com so make sure you go there, and leave a comment now.
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Hair emergency. We’re having a hair emergency. Five reasons you’re not taken seriously, you point to your boobs, sorry. If it’s not fun for me, it’s not going to be fun for you.