How To be Heard

How to be heard by a co-workers, staff, managers or teenagers

We all want to be heard. You want the other person to understand you and take notice of you.

Recently I was talking to my wife about going away for a weekend before the Easter Weekend.  As we chatted I got the sense that I was not being heard.  It was as if she was not that interested in my idea. I began to think that maybe my idea was wrong, that it was a bad idea.  As an NLP Trainer, I can also have all those negative thoughts.  However, having been trained how to communicate effectively using NLP and then teaching others the NLP techniques, I focused my thoughts on two things: Don’t mind read what my wife is thinking or feeling about this topic, and use Sensory Acuity to discover what is actually happening.

Everyone is capable of mindreading.  This is where you make up your mind what the other person means without them telling you.  For example, if I said I was in a bad mood, a mind read would be that you have caused the bad mood and you may feel responsible and you might need to apologise.  The reality of the situation is that it could be something or someone else, or even something I did that put me in that mood. In this situation it had nothing to do with you, so you wouldn’t need to apologise.

Sensory Acuity is where you observe the other person and you see, hear and feel how they are responding to you.  As you continue to observe and discover their behaviours, facial expressions and tonality, you will gain a greater understanding of them.  In the case of my wife I could heard her tone of voice as we chatted about the idea.  I saw her shaking her head.  I then thought of other times when her tone was low and she was shaking her head, and remembered in a previous experience she had been a way for the previous two weekends and wanted a weekend at home.  By reviewing this in my mind, I then stopped talking about my idea and decided to understand what thoughts were going through her head.

Think about a conversation you had recently where you wanted to convince a family member to do what you wanted to do.  When you finished talking to them, did you feel that you got your point across?  How do you know you got it across?

Thinking back to that conversation with the family member, did you mind read or did you take into account your sensory acuity; what you were seeing, hearing and feeling, to try and make sense of it? At that time, did you even know about sensory acuity?  I have found as I speak to people about sensory acuity they tell me that I am just talking about body language.  In books on body language, they suggest that certain behaviours mean certain things, such as crossing your arms means that you are not listening. This is actually mind reading.

Sensory acuity is about noticing as much as you can about the person in front of you and asking what does their behaviour, mannerisms, tonality, pitch and facial expressions mean in response to the conversation. As they repeat the behaviour, such as subtly shaking their head, you will discover that the movement is linked to every time they say no to your suggestion with a specific tone and pitch in their voice.

With people you know well, I would suggest you have already been using your sensory acuity without even knowing, so you could help them make sense of what you are telling them.  So, from this you will know whether you are getting your point across without listening to what they are saying, and focusing more on what you see, feel and hear in tone and pitch.

The classic example of where you can have mis-communication and not get your point across is when you met someone for the first time and you want them to call you. You give them your mobile number and ask them to call you and they respond in the affirmative. You wait for the call but it never arrives.  It would have been interesting now that you are aware of sensory acuity to go back and find out the signs you missed which the person gave you, rather than simply listen for the yes.

To develop sensory acuity you need to learn to pay greater attention to the information you get through all your senses when observing another person.  The main senses that we use for improving sensory acuity is seeing and hearing.  Examples of this are:

  • Facial expressions that change from a smile to a frown as you talk about your experiences
  • Listening to the person talk to see if they are getting more excited, which shows in their pace and tone

Alternatively if you attend an NLP Practitioner course, my next 8 day course is starting on 18 April 2015.  You can find out more and register at, or call me on 0419 517 716.

So if you want to get your point across, don’t mind read what you think the person is thinking, if you get the sense they are not understanding, then talk to them about their thoughts and any disagreement.

Have a great day achieving your success.


David Donahoo

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