But, what do you do if someone is inattentive, finishes your sentences, takes a call or does not pay attention to you when you are talking with them?
Answer: Listen first and apply all the tips from the last post “Why Listen?”. Once you have listened, acknowledged and confirmed understanding apply any of the following:
1. Ask for their attention and tell them why. “I need your full attention because I only have a few minutes to answer any questions you may have.”
2. Confirm if the time is right to talk. “Is this a good time?” shows respect for the other person’s time and for the importance of yours. If it is not a good time, suggest another time.
3. Interrupt the interruption. Use a stop gesture for someone who doesn’t notice you are on a call or in the midst of a conversation, like raising your index finger in the wait one minute sign.
If you are interrupted before finishing your thought and you have previously listened to them, and would like the same respect say, “Excuse me, let me interrupt you. I listened to your point of view and now I would like my ideas heard.”
4. Ignore the interruption and bring the conversation to a close at the next pause. Sometimes it is not worth spending time trying to get someone to listen when they cannot or don’t want to. “That’s interesting. Thanks for sharing. I’ve got to go now.”
Allow some time to pass before broaching the subject again or let go of attachment to having them hear you. Ask yourself How important is it, really? Ask for mediation if communication is required and they are not willing.
A tip if you have kids under 10. Touch their arm and lovingly look them in the eye when you want them to hear you. The same technique works with adults as well.
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