Want to ensure that none of your co-workers listen to a word you say? Be the office Chicken Little. While cautious skepticism definitely has its place in any team environment, consistently negative people are unlikely to be heard — even if they have something important to say.
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“In their eyes, you’ve become an alarmist,” writes Mike Figliuolo at Thought Leaders. “Every time you come to them, you point out how pressing and important the issue at hand is. After a while your listener believes you find EVERYTHING to be important therefore NOTHING is important. They don’t have time to sift through all your cries for help to determine which ones are actually worth listening to.”
To change this perception and get encourage people to hear what you’re saying, do the following:
1. Listen before you speak.
Maybe you’re the voice of reason, or maybe you really have fallen into a cycle where they propose and you dispose. To make sure you’re responding to what people are actually saying, open your ears first, and then make sure you’re reacting to their actual statement, not an interaction you had last week or last month.
2. Let the facts do the talking.
You care about your job, but you need to make sure that your arguments are coming from data, not emotions. While it’s great to feel passionate about what you do, making your case based on feelings will not encourage your co-workers to give your ideas a chance.
3. Use your social capital frugally.
If you’re the person who always has an objection, you’ll become the person who never gets taken seriously. Reserve your strongest objections for the situations that really deserve it, and let the little things go. Practice taking a deep breath, before you speak. You might find that many issues resolve themselves, given a little time and space.
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