Ever feel like employees just don’t listen to you?
Well, you aren’t alone – for two reasons.
There are a lot of managers who feel the same way you do.
The second reason? Many employees actually don’t listen.
And it comes at a big cost: Studies say companies lose more than $25,000 per employee each year because poor communication hurts productivity.
Not Always Employees’ Fault
But you can’t just blame employees when they don’t get what you say.
Sometimes we don’t communicate well and employees tune out.
Here are the six biggest reasons employees miss the message and how you can avoid these poor communication habits.
1) It Didn’t Grab Their Attention
People have a shrinking attention span: It’s down to about 8.25 seconds if the person, topic or situation doesn’t interest them.
So you need to say something interesting within those first eight seconds.
The best approach: Immediately explain how the information you want to share directly affects employees.
2) Avoid the Data Dump
Employees are overwhelmed with information all day, every day. Giving them anything that’s less than relevant to the task at hand dilutes – and potentially pollutes – your message.
Keep directions simple and to the point. Keep your message short. If they need more information, they’ll ask for it.
3) Focusing on The Wrong Person
Great leaders tend to be interesting and respected by their employees. But even then, employees are still primarily interested in themselves.
So, if your message focuses too much on you, the company or group, it will be mostly ignored. Instead, focus on why the information you share is important to the people who get it.
If you hear yourself saying, “I” and “we” more than “you,” it’s time to change the message.
4) The Timing Was Bad
Some messages aren’t heard and heeded because they come at a bad time.
When are those bad times? Just before a meal or coffee break, and about an hour after those breaks, when their blood sugar begins to drop.
Important messages are best delivered right after they’ve fueled up. That’s when they’re most alert.
5) You’re Sitting in the Wrong Spot
Researchers have found that people listen better to those who are in the “right” position.
And that doesn’t mean having the right job title.
For example, in a meeting, the “right” position tends to be the head of the table – which is a “high status” seat. The foot of the table also gets attention, but often it’s for opposition to what happens at the head.
People sitting on the middle sides tend to get heard the least from their “low status” seats.
So, when the message is important, position yourself in one of the “high status” end seats.
6) Poor Messaging
Sometimes leaders don’t speak clearly. Three keys to clear speech:
- Speak up. If they literally can’t hear you, nothing will sink in.
- Stop short of yelling. If you’re full of emotion, they’ll ignore the content.
- Slow down. If you talk too fast or say too much, employees won’t keep up.
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