People Don't Want to Hear from You
THEY WANT TO BE HEARD BY YOU
I had just finished presenting another 90-minute workshop at a leadership event. It was my third or fourth in a couple of days. To say I was emotionally spent is an understatement because I always attempt to give my audience 100%.
As usual, people stayed after the session was over to ask questions. I’m not a saint, so of course I’m wondering how long this will take. Not because I don’t care. But because I have my own needs. My body was tired. My belly was growling. My bladder was full.
Any of those issues could be a legitimate excuse to make an exit. But I promised people at the beginning of my presentation that I’d be the last one in the room. I’ve always made that my practice unless I had another session immediately afterward.
I don’t remember exactly what my workshop was about on that day. Nor do I remember the conversation I had with the last person in line. But honestly, neither does she. That’s what she conveyed to me this week in a private social media message.
“I'm in the middle of a massive reorganization of my studio and came across your business card—one I thought was worth keeping after all these years. I'm sure you don't remember me, as it's been over 10 years since we met briefly at a conference. I can't even remember anymore what the session was about and what question I waited for everybody to leave in order to ask you; however, what I do remember is in that moment, despite the fact that you probably had so many things and people vying for your attention, I felt so seen at a time. Thank you for that. It's a memory that has stuck with me all these years.”
If pride is a crime, then I’m guilty as charged. While that message made my day, it was also an important reminder for my life. No matter how much research and data I spew in posts or on podcasts, what people really want in life is to be noticed.
But let me make a confession. There was a brief moment while mulling over her message when I thought, “Well, I must not have made much an impact if she can’t even remember the topic of my talk.” And then I shared her words with my brilliant wife.
Once again, Cindy had to gently knock me off my high horse and remind me of the truth I just mentioned, “What people really want in life is to be seen and heard—nothing else matters.” It’s true for me. And it’s true for you, too. It’s true for everyone.
When today is over and done, what will the people you encounter remember? Will it be your instruction? Your correction? Your direction? If it wasn’t your undivided attention they received, don’t be surprise if they forget the rest as well.
At the end of the day, people don’t want to hear from you; they want to be heard by you. So give them your very best in the moment. It doesn’t get any less complicated than that today. Strive to be that person people remember 10 years later. ⬛
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To the person who reached out to me 10 years later, thank you. It was a precious gift
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