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Not Everyone Is Going to Listen to You

Not Everyone Is Going to Listen to You

Today you have had the most brilliant of ideas that is going to cut costs dramatically for your company, increase productivity for your team and make the world around you a much better place to be in.

And today, no one is going to listen to you.

Think of the last time that you had this great, incredible, amazing idea and you invested a significant amount of effort to setup a meeting, prepare a presentation, practiced your pitch, etc, etc, only to have it fall on deaf ears because no one wanted to listen to it.

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This isn’t about how you could have crafted your pitch better, this is about how, in that moment of solemness and dejection, you need to pick yourself up and learn to be okay with the fact that not everyone is going to want to listen to you and move forward.

They aren’t Ready

First and foremost, it’s not that people don’t want to listen to you, it’s that they are not ready to listen to you.  When someone wants to listen to you, they are prepared for something new coming their way, they are leaning forward with interest and desire in what ideas you have and are generally seeking your thoughts and guidance.  When someone is not ready, they haven’t prepared, they might not understand the problem and the need for something different and they might be a part of the need for change.  All these factors (and more) push people into a position of not being ready to receive your ideas and coming into the conversation as skeptics to your ideas, when you really needed them to be cheerleaders and converts.

Change is a very hard thing for some people and where you might be someone who is prepared to implement and adopt change at a moment’s notice, not everyone is like you.  So take some time, breathe and figure out a way to turn them from not wanting to listen to you, to making them ready and eager to listen to you.

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You Missed Something

In every group, there is a Nitpicker.  The person who analyzes every detail and pokes holes where things could go wrong – whether they are valid or not.  Their true purpose is to sew decent and confusion among those at the table that this new idea is not ready – you didn’t do your homework, you didn’t come to the table prepared, you didn’t look at all the scenarios.  They put all the effort for following up next onto you.

They are hoping you will give up.

But you can’t and won’t, because even in your zest to bring about this new idea you might have missed a few crucial details but they have missed the bigger picture of what could be accomplished when the details are ironed out.  You forgot something, you’re human, it doesn’t mean your idea doesn’t have merit, it means it needs polish, it means it needs refinement, it means it has value.

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The Wrong Crowd

You hear this a lot – “it’s not for you, it’s for them” – and it’s true, it’s true in everything you will do.  You will come up with great ideas, you will have innovative solutions to complex problems and you WILL break the mold – but it will not be for everyone.  Where you start with your idea and who you first show it to, does not necessarily mean that these will be the consumers of this work.  It means that they are the first ones to hear about it from you.  Think back to when you had a great idea to do something and everyone shunned it, but then a few months later you took the same idea, presented it and everyone loved it.  What changed?  The crowd – either those people changed and realized it’s benefit or it was a whole new set of people.  Whichever crowd it was that now loves your idea and didn’t in the beginning, it simply means that it wasn’t for them, but for the people that you are now with.

So what’s the lesson?  Not everyone is going to listen to you.  And that is okay.

Just because you are feeling dejected, solemn, down, beaten it doesn’t mean you should pack up, give up and go home.  It DOES mean that you need to take a step back and look at whether the people were presenting to were ready for your idea, are those even the right people or are you talking to the wrong crowd and maybe you need to iron out a few of the remaining details to keep the nitpicker at bay and turn from skeptics to converts.

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These are the hard times, where the focused are separated from the flimsy – picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, re-tooling their ideas and suggestions and pushing forward to make an impact.  And we need you, we need you to keep pushing the envelope and suggesting new ways of doing things, raising the bar and pushing the edges.

So please, don’t give up, get up and get back into it.Don’t stop being a change agent – New ideas will always get knocked down, it’s up to you how long to keep banging your head against the wall or leave

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Greg Thomas

Software Architect

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Last Updated on October 20, 2019

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