At one point in my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I employed a woman who spoke no English. When I would introduce her to English-speaking people, they would invariably speak louder to her. “She”s not deaf – she doesn’t speak the language so louder won’t help” I would attempt to point out.
This is what I call the “Louder” Strategy. As silly as it seems in this story, I see it happen all the time in organizational life. When people don’t get a response from others, the default assumption seems to be – they didn’t hear me, so I will repeat myself at a greater volume.
In actuality, the unmoved did hear you and are not buying what you are telling them. Ignoring you is a way to find out how serious you are. At other times, they can’t hear you, that is, they can’t understand what you are saying. This may be a language difference driven by nationality, generation, culture or perspective. Whatever the cause, turning up the volume fails the vast majority of the time.
Sometimes it is the relationship between the sender and receiver. No rapport, no relationship, no empathy – could all be the blockage. Sometimes, it is our fascination with our own ideas and messages. We hold them so dear, we pay little attention to the response.
If you are not getting through, ask yourself – “What might I adjust – other than the volume?” Good luck!