Why People Don’t Listen

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This is a typical problem that many people face; others ignore them when they’re speaking. So, why don’t people listen to you when you’re talking? There are a number of reasons; let’s examine some.

1. A physical problem

This is a fairly simple and basic problem; the person might be hard of hearing. If this is the case, get them to a doctor for a hearing test, and then maybe a hearing aid is all they need.

2. You’re the problem

The flip side to the first point is that maybe you are just not speaking up enough. If you find that many people aren’t listening to you when you speak, it could be due to you.

Ask someone that you respect if you have a volume problem, and then work to correct it. You can try something as simple as practicing public speaking to taking a speech class.

Another excellent option is taking an acting class and even appearing in some plays. All of these steps will contribute to you learning to enunciate properly and project your voice.

3. They’re too self-absorbed

In some cases, people are so wrapped up in their own lives and concerns that they just don’t want to listen to you – or anyone else. With these people, it can be very difficult to get them to listen to you. About the only way is to put the subject in terms of how it will affect them.

4. They don’t like you or care about what you have to say

Sometimes, why people don’t listen has less to do with what you are saying, and more to do with who you are. It could be an older sibling who doesn’t respect you, a co-worker who is jealous of your work record or abilities, or even a classmate who doesn’t like that you got a higher grade on a recent test.

Depending on the degree of animosity the person feels toward you, you might be able to talk to them and resolve the issue. In some cases, the enmity may run deep, and getting the person to listen to you may be quite difficult, but that is no reason not to try.

5. They don’t like or agree with what you have to say

This is a very common problem, these days; especially in the area of politics. Just tune your TV to any news or opinion program and you will hear people talking about Death Panels and government takeovers, Global Warming and various 9/11 conspiracy theories. Yet, if you try to convince them that they’re wrong – they will not listen.

In some cases, people just don’t want to listen to any view that disagrees with theirs. On the other hand, some people can be swayed if you present them with enough facts; it really depends on the person, and the issue you’re debating.

6. They have a vested interest in not listening

This goes hand in hand with point five. The people on the TV shows that claim Death Panels exist, the US government was behind 9/11, and other horrors have a reason for not listening to anyone who disagrees with them. For them, it’s how they earn their living.

This is a problem that has existed for decades, if not centuries; there are people who will not listen to any view that contradicts theirs, because it would hurt their ability to make money. With these people, accept that you are not going to get them to listen.

When trying to deal with the issue of why people don’t listen to what you or someone else have to say, there are numerous reasons. Examine the ones listed here, and see if the answer can help you to overcome the problem.

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Peter W. Murphy is a peak performance expert. His focus is on key distinctions that make a big difference. He enjoys going deep into a research topic to discover the often overlooked but key elements anyone can focus on to achieve much better results. Peter enjoys competitive tennis, travel, good friends, loud music and taking time to enjoy the moment.