How To Deal With People That Don’t Listen

It can be very difficult to know how to deal with people that don`t listen. One of the most frustrating things for anyone is to be talking to a family member, a friend, co-worker or an audience and find that those you are talking to are not listening. Sometimes it is like you are talking to a wall, with no response.

When people do not listen to you, especially when you are trying to say something important, and they don`t listen you may well become aggravated. However, that does not help the situation.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to deal with people that don`t listen.

1. Pause while talking

This is especially important if what you have to say will take some time. The average adults attention span is relatively short and their attention can wander to other things while you are talking.

Bring their attention back to you and what you are saying pause every so often by pausing. This gives the other person an opportunity to process what you have said and ask questions. Pausing while you are talking opens the door for the other to become involved in what you are saying. Make the conversation an interactive one if at all possible if you want people to listen.

2. Minimize distractions for the listener

If you need to talk to someone one-on-one about something important, find a place, like an office or a separate room, where you won`t be bothered by other people. There is almost nothing worse than to have people constantly walking in and out of a room while other people are trying to listen to you.

If you are talking to a group of people, like when making a presentation or doing a lecture, be sure that the room you use has few distractions and that people are not going in and out while you are speaking.

Also, use props like charts or slide projections to keep your audience focused to the front and on you. Before you begin your presentation advise your audience that you would like them to turn off their cell phones and put laptops away. Both cell phones and laptops can be a huge distraction for people and can keep them from listening to you.

Ringing cell phones and conversations on them will distract more people than just the ones using them. Any distraction will interfere with peoples ability to effectively listen.

3. Use appropriate language

What we are talking about here is using language that your audience is familiar with.

You may be well educated and have a great command of language, but your audience may not. If they do not understand what you are saying you will most certainly cause them to wonder what the heck you are talking about.

If they can`t figure out what you mean they will lose interest and you lose the attention you need from them and they will become distracted with other thoughts.

4. Give people a reason to listen

Most people listen and listen better when they know they will benefit, in some way, from what you have to say.

Sales people use this technique with customers all the time because they know that the customer is only interested in what will benefit them. Before starting to talk, tell your audience why their attention is important and how what you have to say will be beneficial to them.

When people don`t listen to us it is frustrating and sometimes aggravating. But because we are the ones talking, the responsibility for their listening often rests on our shoulders. The next time you are faced with someone not listening to you try some of these techniques to help you deal with people who don`t listen.



  1. Ally says:

    I have a problem with a salesperson who continually calls the office I work in and does not listen to our needs when we try to tell him.
    We are not currently buying from him as we are currently fully stocked on his products, and when my boss cut back the order over the phone, the same large orders continued to arrive with the same large bills. He calls nearly every day to sell to my boss.
    My boss has informed me and I have informed this man that what all we can do right now is take his phone number so that when we need more stuff we will call him. He refuses to leave a phone number and insists on calling back. We have told him we are extreemly busy right now and can not have him continuing to call, and still he calls back. If I try to get a word in edge wise to tell him why we need to take him number and can’t have him calling us continually, ( it interupts our work day when we have a lot to get done) he hangs up on me….and then calls back in a day or two.

    I understand his persistence as he wishes to make a sale. I have no problem with sales calls but I am frustrated that he is not LISTENING to our current needs. He is destroying his chance at any future sales with us and the interuptions are becoming too much.

    How can I use suggestion number 4 in the above article to give him a reason to LISTEN to our needs; so that he has a reason to hear us out instead of hanging up, and so that we no longer have this constant interuption? Also I do not have his number so I can not block it.

    Any advice would be appreciated. Ally

  2. blacc says:

    That dont work all the time I have a gf that dont listen to me at all its very hard to deal with her sometimes i just want to say hell with her. She all ways think she is right about everything