Do they listen? Do they hear you?
Whether you are a high schooler talking a suicidal friend down from the ledge, or a teacher, parent, or trainer, you want to be heard. You want them to listen to you and act on it.
Is anyone listening? Do they hear me? We often wonder. We say a lot of things. Counselors, parents, and trainers prepare our remarks with the hope these gems falling from our lips will make a positive or life-changing impact on the listeners. We don’t know if we’re heard, even if they nod in agreement. Did our words hit home?
Confirmation they heard comes in little gifts here and there
Early in my career I had a wonderful confirmation that has motivated me on my lowest days. I retell it to encourage all of the above people to say your piece and let God do the rest. Memory is an amazing thing. “When the student is ready, the teacher shows up.”
I had started my new speaking business on a shoestring after being an administrator for years. When a mentor asked me what I would do if money were no object, I answered without hesitation: “Start a Training Business!” He told me to “go and claim your inheritance, Beth. Claim the gifts you’ve been given and do this.”
So I did. I was fortunate to have many clients immediately. I’d been in Hawaii for a couple of decades and knew a lot of people. Still, being a 24/7 marketer had its challenges.
Listen and ye shall receive
On the way to church one Sunday morning I was yelling at God. “Please tell me if this is the right path for me! This is TOOOOOO HARD! I need a sign!”
I sat through the sermon and… nothin’. Then I listened to the readings and the songs – nothin’. I was standing outside with friends for coffee hour when a young woman I didn’t recognize approached me. “Are you Beth Terry?” Me: “Ummm, yes?” Not sure what she wanted.
“I want to thank you for saving my life.” A little taken aback I asked her how I had done that.
“Do you remember about 8 years ago when you gave a talk at Central Intermediate?”
“Yes. Yes, I do.”
“Remember you were there to teach all those kids how to interview for jobs?”
“Right. That was fun.”
“Well, you may remember there was a Goth girl standing at the back of the room rolling her eyes and shaking her head at all your great advice?’
“Oh, right! Yes, I remember her!” Visions of a girl with a bad attitude in dark eye liner, a pitbull necklace, black fingernails and head-to-toe black clothing popped into my head.
“That was me.”
“Wow. Good job recovering,” I said to the very polished young lady standing in front of me. “So, how did I save your life?”
She heard me – when she needed to
“About 3 years ago, I was sitting on my lanai with a razor blade to my wrist. Suddenly I heard your voice in my head. I put down the razor, went inside and washed all the Goth off, got dressed and went downtown to look for a job. I got hired!”
Me, trying not to tear up, “Wow. Congratulations! What on earth did I say?”
“You ended your speech to us by saying, ‘Everybody has something good about them and something they need to work on. Expand the good and work on the stuff that needs it. Then go out into the world and make it better because you were born.”
Tears flowed down my face as I hugged her. “That’s pretty good. Sounds like something I say all the time. I’m so happy you heard it!”
“Well I only heard it when I needed it…”
This isn’t about you
And that, my friends, is why you should never worry if it doesn’t appear you were heard. Even if they don’t act on it, when their brains listen, it gets recorded somewhere. People hear things when they are ready, not necessarily when you say them. The brain is an amazing instrument. It has the capacity to store things for later. So keep giving your messages of hope and encouragement. Some day they will hear you. And remember, you are the messenger. It’s not about you. It’s about them. They will hear you when they need to.
Now, get out in the world and make it better because you were born!
More tips on how to communicate clearly
@2019 Beth Terry, BethTerry.com, Beth Terry Events
PS – I have room for Two more coaching clients for my one-on-one Public Speaker Coaching. Email me! You’ll be glad you did!