How do you get someone to listen to you? Whether you are working with a team that has different opinions, or some team members that don't want to create the change you need, or there's a very competitive, maybe unhealthy relationship with somebody else in your line of work, or maybe it happens at home, with your teenage daughter or with your spouse... Options are endless, and conflicts are created. How can you get them to see your point of view? Here's a two-step technique that's very simple and that works as long as you have patience. Keep reading or watch the video for more...

Last week, I gave you three strategies you can use whenever you're upset, in order to calm down a little bit. You can catch up HERE if you missed it. I gave the example of someone asking you about your cauliflower soup, while it's obvious that it's a broccoli soup, and you start arguing. Of course, this is just an example, but nevertheless, here's a technique you can use...

1. Repeat What They Just Said

2. Zip It

The technique is the following: First you repeat whatever they just said. Second, you zip it. Then you repeat what they just said, and then you zip it, until they open the door for you to speak. Here's what it could look like: "How's your cauliflower soup?" "My cauliflower soup?" (You're putting an accent on the cauliflower soup.) Immediately, they recognize that they said cauliflower, because you just repeated it. Next, you zip it. They then say: "Oh, did I say cauliflower? I meant broccoli. Duh." That's it! Conflict averted.

Now let's try something a little bit more complicated, the long-term technique. You want to gain the trust of the person that you are talking to, because nobody wants to be told what to do. They don't want your opinion. Most people don't! We've all had a friend tell us: "I think I'm going to do this." And you're like: "I've been telling you this for three months, and now all of a sudden you just got the idea of doing this?" Well, it's because everybody needs to have their own opinion, their own light bulb, and most people do not want to listen to what we have to say, so you need to gain that trust or that privilege to be part of the people that they would turn to. Until they do, you just repeat and you zip it. 

Let's say the conflict is with a teenager that wants to quit school. Of course, it's not a good idea for them to quit school. If you remember last week's strategies, you know that the first step is forgetting about the truth. The truth and what is right does not have to be defended. Your purpose is to have a relationship with your teenage daughter. Once you strengthen the relationship, that's when they'll listen to you. First, let's go to something that might happen when there is no technique being used.

Scenario #1. No Technique Used

-"I think I'm going to quit school."

-"No, you can't do that. You have such a brilliant future."

-"Yeah, but I've worked all summer, I'm making a lot of money and I don't want to go back to school in the fall."

-"Well, the minimum wage you're making is nothing. You can't live on that. It's just that you're living at our house right now, at your parents' house, you have no expenses and that's why you feel like you're making a lot of money."

-"Well, I don't even know what I would study anyway because nothing interests me."

-"Well, go into something general and then you can decide after. But you can't just quit school."

Now, the teenager is starting to feel very annoyed, because you're not listening to them.

-"Well, okay, I can register if you want, but I won't go. I'll skip all my courses because the teachers are bad anyway."


Uh-oh. Now, let's use the technique.

Scenario #2. Technique Used

-"I think I'm going to quit school."

-"You think you're going to quit school?"

-"Yeah, I don't want to go back in September."

-"You don't want to go back in September."

-"Well, yeah, I worked all summer and I'm making a lot of money."

-"You worked all summer, you're making a lot of money."

-"Well, maybe not a lot of money, but I have some savings. I mean, well, I've saved like a thousand dollars in my bank account. I'm proud of that."

-"Wow, you have a thousand dollars in your bank account."

Now the teenager is starting to feel very proud, because you're making them feel good.

-"Yeah, it feels great. I still don't know what I want to do later, so I would not know what course I would take if I was to go back to school."

-"I see. I think I get it. You don't know what you want to do later, so you don't know what course you would take if you go back to school."

-"Yeah, I have no idea."

-"You have no idea. That must not be easy."

-"No, that's not easy."

- "You're very resourceful. I trust that you're going to figure it out. You're going to figure this out. You're going to make the right decision."

The teenager, eventually, if you continue to listen to them, will start trusting you. They might even say: "Well, what do YOU think?" And that's when you can say: "Well, maybe you can go into something general." Or: "Well, the reason why a thousand dollars feels like a lot of money right now is because you don't have any expenses." Now, it's your turn to talk!

Yes, it might take several months for them to build the trust and turn it around to tell you: What do YOU think? But it is worth the wait. Remember the goal is the build the relationship. The same thing goes for something that's happening at work where somebody is not on board with the new system that you're implementing. It could take a couple months before you get that person on board. You may have to say: "Okay, tell me about your way of doing things. Let's try it your way." Maybe you feel like you're going to be wasting your time listening to somebody, but it takes a lot more time to drag someone who's not on board than to listen to them and to make them earn your trust.

People don't want to be right, they want to be heard. The goal is always the relationship. You will catch up on any "wasted" time once everybody's on board. If you had to drag them, it would take a lot more time than just taking the time to listen. Hopefully, this technique will be useful to you in your personal and professional lives, and if there's something else I can help you with, we can brainstorm some different scenarios as well. I'm happy to have a chat!


Are you curious about what makes you tick? Do you want to understand your strengths, preferences, and how you interact with the world around you? Look no further!

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