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Win the Battle of Selective Hearing

  • Broadcast in Management
CB Baker

CB Baker


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Do you have a Boss that claims you didn't tell him everything but you did? Sometimes this can be a no win situation. I will discuss useful tools to help people deal with their bosses who have cases of selective hearing.


0:01 S

Welcome to Conquering Dreams with the legendary motivational speaker, C.B. Baker. Ladies and gentlemen, without further adieu, here is C.B. Baker.

0:28 C.B. Baker

Good evening, everybody. It's me again, C.B., your host, leadership expert, motivational speaker, C.B. Baker. Yes, this is another episode of Conquering Dreams. I am so glad and I am appreciative that you have tuned in to this episode here and what we'll be talking about tonight is the battle -- How To Battle Selective Hearing. That's right, selective hearing. That's the topic tonight. And, you know, I cannot express to you how many times I've encountered this issue with myself and with other people dealing with selective hearing. Due to the nature of my business and where I work at, I deal with this a lot in leadership and management, people with selective hearing. So, I said, you know, I need to do an episode about selective hearing, so we can get a better understanding on how to battle selective hearing, what causes it and -- but also supply tools to everyone out there on how to combat it and deal with people with selective hearing. First thing, we want -- I want everyone to understand something here. First off, let us talk about what selective hearing is. Basically, selective hearing is -- the definition is in the phrase is people only hearing certain things that you're saying or communicating to the other person and vice versa. Okay. Your message is only being partially received.

2:09 C.B. Baker

Okay. Now, there was a study done that children -- okay -- children have the ability to tune out a negative thought or negative communication that only focus on the positive things. So therefore, if you tell a child, "If you clean up your room, you will get ice cream". The child only hears, "You will get ice cream". It is an amazing feat and people have done studies on this -- countless studies and has all comeback the same. So, the question I have to ask you is, are you still -- are you still suffering from that childhood situation? Now, are you hearing with people have to say negatively to you or when they give you an action either to do, are you missing the most important part because you have tuned them out and only looked at or only heard the reward. Now, what we're going to talk about is how to recognize when your communication is not getting through. Okay. First thing you have to do is be attentive to what you are saying. Okay. Because too often, we speak on a subject and forget what we said or what we generally know or generally know what we just said in a later conversation. Okay. So, if you have to --when you're talking to someone that is suffering from selective hearing, make sure you understand and remember everything that you just told them because you're going to have to repeat it later on.

3:56 C.B. Baker

Okay. So, this also will give you a proper foundation to recognize when someone did not get all you're trying to communicate. So, during the communication with this person that has selective hearing, you talk low, you talk slow and make sure you get everything out and make sure you understand everything that you are saying to this person. So, when we get deeper in the conversation, when you get deeper to conversation with them, then mention it again because guess what, they may go back point to a point that you have already made. How many times have you been talking to someone and you are making a point about a certain situation business wise or life wise and they ask you a question and you're saying yourself up, "I already answered that question. I just said it". Guess what, they have selective hearing. Whether they tuned out or got distracted which we'll talk about a little bit later. Something happened why it didn't get it all. But that is what you have to take in this and remember everything that you're saying. So, therefore you can repeat it. Have you ever suffered from the situation, that's called "You never told me that". Look, I am married. I get that all the time. It is usually me saying that. "You never told me to pick this up". "You never told me go grab that". Now, did the person say it and I didn't hear it or did they not say it all? Now, you can now, of course, in this situation, you have to trust the person had actually said it because you're claiming that you didn't hear it. And how many arguments have you been in or you ever will get into because they claim, "I told you but you don't listen". Well, I am telling you right now, people, it is not entirely your fault. We all suffer from selective hearing from time to time.

5:58 C.B. Baker

Now, what I will talk about tonight is how to combat that, how to battle this selective hearing. Okay. This is -- you never told me there is a dead on target problem and a sign of selective hearing. If someone says that, "You never told me that", and you know without a shadow of a doubt that you told them because, remember, you remember, what you're saying. Okay. When you get that "You never told me that", they suffer from selective hearing. So, you know how to handle that person going forward down the road and how to communicate with them. Okay. Now, another part is knowing your role in the relationship. What are you responsible for? Okay. Especially at work, this may seem to be a simple question, but a lot of people do not know what job duties they have. In knowing this information, it will eliminate the possibility of confusion because let me tell you, selective hearing is usually the culprit to a whole lot of confusion at work. "Jim, can you please have this report to me by noon today?". Now, if Jim is distracted busy doing something and I have walked pass him it and say that and I get the report, but it is at 5 o'clock and I am looking at Jim and I am saying, "Jim, what's up, man. I didn't get -- I need the report by noon". "Need it by noon? That's not what you told me you needed by that today". See, he didn't get catch all of that communication. Okay. Those situations happen all the time. Now, know your role in relationship will help the situation out tremendously.

7:49 C.B. Baker

Number one, if you are the boss or the superior and you are given out command, it is your job to make sure that the person receives the entire communication clearly. I will repeat that. It is your job to make sure that they hear the entire communication clearly. If I was the boss and I walk up to Jim, I will stop at Jim's desk, I say, "Jim, hey how are you doing?" Make it sure he establishes eye contact with me. "Jim, I need the report today by noon". "What time is the report going to get at my desk?" And I let him repeat to me what I just said that in that moment he is -- I am going to understand I hear everything that we have our mutual understanding of what is going on. That is how you combat that. If you passed by people and give them something, it is going to get convoluted or missed. Selective hearing kicks in. But if you know your role and you are the superior and it is your job they catch all of that. I mean not to catch all I mean to deliver the communication. Now, one may -- one person out there may be saying, "Look, I am the superior. I am the boss. They need to be paying attention to what I am saying". Okay. Fine. Now, if you are in a middle management or an employee and your boss comes to give you a task to do, I don't care what you are doing. You need to stop immediately and take in everything that the person says for you to do and get the entire action item. Now, this is my -- this I what I tell people, my advice to you, when your boss gives you action item, you stop what you're doing and you write down the action item and you repeat it back to him what he needs. Okay. So, now I am Jim, "Hey, Jim". "Hey, how are you doing, sir", "I need the -- I need the report by noon today", "Okay, sir, let me get this straight, you need this report by noon today, is that correct", "Yes", "Thank you. I have it on your desk by noon today, Sir". And that is it.

10:14 C.B. Baker

Now, make sure that I have the document done and report done and on his desk by noon. Okay. Now, only answer the questions or discuss problems that are pertaining to an area that you are responsible for unless ask directly from your superior. I repeat that. Only answer the questions or discuss problems that are pertaining to your area that you are responsible for unless asked directly from your superior. Okay. Now, what that really means is, look, your selective hearing is going to kick in if you are dealing with something that is not pertaining to your area. So, do not go starting the conversation that could have action items come out of it if you're not really paying attention to that area or department. Okay. If I don't cut the grass outside and I have a yardman to cut the grass. When my wife asks me a question about the yard, I am going to say anything to get out of that conversation. Okay. Now, that is not selective hearing, that is called selective communication. Now, I am going not to remember what I said, I could have actively said, "I am going to cut the grass today", and I know I am not going to. Now, I end up in a miscommunication. Okay. So, understand your role and only answer questions that pertain to your area.

11:48 C.B. Baker

Now, the next question is -- does your boss or employee respect your opinion? This is a huge -- huge point here and whose question. When you are dealing with selective hearing, some people can take that as a blatant disrespect or, you know, "Why didn't they understand what I'm saying. I told them straight to their face". And listen, people, I am telling you, you will encounter a moment when you're talking to someone directly in the eyes and they are going to claim they did not hear that or you did not tell them that, and you clearly did. Now, here is to the biggest question if it happens ongoingly. Does the person respect your opinion? Recognizing this can save you years of headache. Remember, you have a choice to work for someone or them working for you. Okay. It is very important to understand that because it can get very frustrating and can cause a whole lot of stress at work when you are dealing with people who are only half-listening to you. I cannot begin to tell you how many employees I've had -- that I've had to tell them over and over again what to do or how to do something. And they only get it half right. And guess what happens, I ended up having to fire them. Because I rarely got to the point where in the work, maybe it's me, maybe I am not communicating clearly enough. So, let me slow down and tell them and remember everything that I said. And once I tell them, they still do not get the task completed all the way then I understand, "Look, we may have to go our separate directions because you're not paying attention to me. You are not the giving me respect that I command in order to do this job". So, no problem.

14:07 C.B. Baker

Okay. Now, let us talk about some of the tools that we are going to use to combat selective hearing. I want to -- which it seems like a no-brainer is eliminate distractions when you're communicating. I cannot express to you more how many times does confusion happens because there is, you know, you're in place that is too loud. How many of you tried to have a business meeting or a family meeting in a noisy restaurant and/or you're at a restaurant and you tell the person that is going to the bar, "I need -- I want a lemonade and two beers". They come back with two lemonades and one beer. "But you told me, this is what you want"? They didn't catch it all. Okay. It is not necessarily selective hearing, it's you are distracted by the noise that is going on in the room. Now, I am talking about noise, but there could be another -- other distractions in your environment especially at work. If you're working in an environment that has a lot of cubicles or you had a call center where phones are ringing all the time, what are you going to do? Are you going to have an appointment conversation in a noisy environment or will play up distractions? No, you are not. Talking in a noisy environment can cause a boat load of confusion later. You do not know if you were receiving all the information correctly and vice versa. So, this is what it typically would look, if you are in a noisy situation, say, "Look. Let's talk about this a little later or where we can sit down and talk". Now, the discussions -- and a lot of businesses is done during happy hour -- we all know what happy hour is.

16:08 C.B. Baker

Okay. It is where -- so after work and we go out to get a few drinks and you're networking with people. Okay. The happy hour discussions are great. But always need to be followed up with -- followed up in the morning with clarity. Do not take what was discussed at happy hour at face value because you have too many distractions going on. First up, you get music playing in the background, you're at bar, it is loud, people talking loud. And once again I -- you're at a bar that means that if you're drinking or the person you're talking to is like indemnities or communication could get convoluted at some point. Now, everybody here has heard two people drunk talking to one another, they make sense to one another at that time. Okay. But now, when you wake up in the morning, you're saying, "I've got a meeting, but sad to say" and they may not have a clue when they got to meet with you, they don't remember that one thing. That is what I am trying to tell people. Follow up in the morning after happy hour discussion and clarify what was talked about. Do not take things at face value. You need to make sure that both of you have the other -- both of you have each other's full attention. Okay. So, you eliminate all the distractions. Now, you are sitting in a quiet room having this important discussion. Now, when I am talking to you, if the person that you are talking with is looking at their phone -- addicted to their phone, on Facebook, on Instagram, tweeting, they do not have your full attention, so don't give them nothing that is very pertinent information that they really need because it is not getting through. They are not hearing it.

17:56 C.B. Baker

Once again, let us go back to that child. If you told that child, "Look, if you clean up the room. You're going to have ice cream". This is the safest way. So if I tell that person who is distracted in their phone or looking at the watch or trying to look at TV, all they're going to hear is the reward. That is it. That is it. Trust me on this. So, I make sure you have the full attention and vice versa. This is common sense, but not common practice. Okay. Now, next. Back-up all important conversations with an e-mail. My father who has had 30 plus years at corporate America lives by this notion. If he has important conversations with you, he is going to back it up with an e-mail stating in the e-mail what was discussed and how things were supposed to turn out and the action item is going to take place. He's going to send it to you and a copy himself was he has actually double checking the situation -- the conversation. And once you get that you suppose to send them a response back that says, "understood" or "confirmed". Now, if you send back e-mail saying, "Not confirmed" or you're not or don't send it or backed it all, he then states -- he then picks up the phone and calls you back to make sure that you hear each other correctly. The use of the phase have to do when you're having important conversation with people. You don't want selective hearing to get in the way. So, you have to back up your important conversations with e-mail and I am not for the sake that you got a copy of yourself on it, but it is a good measure to do so because you will have people that will say I never got the e-mail or everybody has heard that one, "I didn't get the e-mail".

19:58 C.B. Baker

Even when a read receipt comes back to you, they're still going to say, "I didn't get the e-mail". And I am not even going into that, "Oh, I never got your text". Especially, nowadays when our phone, with our messages, you see when you see when it was delivered. And they still tell you I didn't get your text. So now, follow-up your important conversations with e-mail so that no one is confused about what were discussed. I stressed here the important because you don't have to do this too often. You don't want to do it too often because after a while it dilutes itself. If you are copying your cell phone every e-mail that you send off _20:41_ yourself and you do not feel the importance of it. Okay. So, you don't have to break this in a follow-up e-mail on every conversation that you are having, only on the severely important ones. Okay. Next is knowing your audience. This is crucial when dealing with people who have selective hearing. Knowing what the trigger points are and hid in them in the conversation would gain their full attention. And so what I do with people who I knows suffer from selective hearing is I may call them by their nickname when I'm talking to them or I may mention the words termination , raise, diamonds just -- and it doesn't have to make any sense. Trust me. Because they never heard nothing anything you said from Jobstreet. So, if you just happen to be in the conversation about mowing the yard and the guys are not listening to you, just say the words, "beer", and then he might say, "What are you talking about"? "What?" and you got his attention. Now, keep rolling and going. Start figuring out that your audience. Know the trigger words.

22:01 C.B. Baker

Some people, you might just snap your finger. You know, walk up the street and snap your finger. Or you might have a fake laughing clap, they clap their attention back to you so you can get your point across. These are all tools that you can use to deal with people with selective hearing. Okay. Now, like I said, know your audience, know the trigger points. But if you have -- if you are in a situation where the environment is distracting, it is going to be hard to get the full attention of someone who suffers from selective hearing and I understand these people, it is not their fault. It is a condition that they really almost have no control over unless they really truly focusing on what the problem is. Okay. Who does -- who does have their full attention at all times? Knowing this information can save you a lot of headache. You could communicate through them about certain information. Now, if you always know that you cannot get through this process, "You know what I just -- I cannot communicate". Go through leadership 101, find out who has the influence over this person. Who do they talk to on a regular basis and they listen to what they're saying. When you do -- when you figure this out and you figure out who that person is, then go to them. Tell them what you need to get accomplished. What you need to get worked on and work through them. Now, it gets real difficult if that person has selective hearing. Okay. And the ultimate tool of all is e-mail. It is hard to misread or miscommunicate or miss something in e-mail, but let me tell you something, if the person you are contacting or emailing and communicating with is very busy, he is not going to read the e-mail passed the third sentence.

24:04 C.B. Baker

I know, I don't. As busy as I am, if you send me e-mail, I don't get passed the third sentence of the e-mail. So, if it is longer than three sentences, I am not seeing anything passed the third sentence. Period. I'm too busy for that. Now, the next one is going to be kind of -- just going to hit home a little bit for some people. Are you the one with selective hearing? Now, selective hearing is almost like in the same person. They might not know initially that they are the same. So therefore, a lot of people who have selective hearing do not know that they have selective hearing. Okay. So, it's going to be hard and very difficult to convince them that you told them something and they didn't hear it, especially your superior or expresses on by this high up in power. That is acknowledging a weakness that they have. So, what you have to do is take it upon yourself to do all the tools that we talked about for us -- making sure you got the full attention. Remember what you said. Eliminating their distractions so you can have them one-on-one in discussing with them the important things and they're following those statements up with an email. But now, if you are the person with selective hearing, recognizing this can be challenging. Negative feedback is never easy to swallow so we tend to shy away from it. So, remember, if somebody is telling you -- if someone cares enough about you to sit you down in the chair and tell you face-to-face that you have a problem with selective hearing, please understand that they care about you.

26:05 C.B. Baker

This is their way of telling you, you're not getting all the information and then you're making decisions and if this appears they could be making decisions that is detrimental to the company because they're not getting all of the information because of their selective hearing. Okay. So, please be careful with that. Now, how can you recognize that is are people telling you, "I told you this before". Now, I have to admit, I suffer from this a lot. I've heard people say, "I told you this, C.B.". And I'm, like, "Okay. Okay". And then I'll say the words, "When did you tell me this"? And I ask the question. Because if they told me when I was moving in mid-stride down the hallway at work, then it's understandable. I'm only going to catch 25% of what you're telling me on the fly and most people who are in management are the same way. Okay. That's why I'm trying and said, "Look. What you just told me, please e-mail it to me". Matter of fact, what's funny today, I actually told an employee of mine to email me a list of things that are need to be fixed at a certain facility. I have not received it yet. And if don't get it back by early tomorrow morning, I will forgot what it was. Okay. So, you can only -- you can -- if you recognize you have selective hearing problem or you're forgetful on certain things, if the people don't do what they need to do then, hey, whose fault is it that at point? Okay. Now, is there a meeting that you are -- is the meeting that you're in for of people who are understanding the situation, but you are just not finding out. But you have been told.

27:57 C.B. Baker

If you are in a meeting and you're just sitting there and, you're like, "Oh, I don't know what is going on", and they're telling you, "We told you this already". Guess what, you're suffering from selective hearing. This happens to multiple managers all the time. Number one, because we spend so much time dealing at high level things when somebody comes to us with some information that's even a little bit detail, we can now hold on to that information. Okay. It has been said that the human brain has five terabytes worth of memory. Okay. That's a lot of memory. But you have to also remember what your brain is holding. If you are the age of 40 years old, your brain is roughly holding 35 years worth of information in there. Some other is gone, some other still in there. So, how much of the five terabytes of space is taken up? If you are having a rough day, you have to remember a report, your RAM -- okay -- random access memory is going to be full. So, if somebody comes to you with something real quick for you to remember, you are not going to remember it or is can be very difficult for you to remember. Is that selective hearing? May be not. But when I hear something and I'm at my end of the day, and I met my age, so I convoluted with something, I'm automatically saying I'm not paying attention to what they're saying. I got my own stuff I'm dealing with right now. I have to catch them later with that. Okay. Now, that is selective hearing that I'm choosing to do. Okay. So, you have to be careful with that too -- with people choosing to have selective hearing.

29:51 C.B. Baker

The tools to prevent selective hearing are very easy. First thing you have to do is to slow down. You know, it's not that difficult. If you're in a conversation, just slow it down. Okay. Give them a full attention to whomever you're communicating with. Okay. Try to hold important meetings in a quiet environment. Alright. Recap all verbal communications. Repeating what was said is almost like burning a copy in the brain when it was talking place. So, basically, if you had a conversation, it's easy, just go ahead and recap what the conversation was about. So, we can therefore what we have -- everybody has a memory of a summary of what we discussed at the end of this meeting or into this conversation. And I'm telling you, people, this works at work, works at home, it works everywhere. So, please utilize these tools. Set follow e-mails to -- on important conversations and happy hour discussions. I cannot express this more. If you're out there and networking people on especially this day and age where they kind of meet the weight is, everybody has to be on a peas and cues in how to grind them and networking at the work to make sure that -- that able to make sure their career is successful. But understand this, okay -- the Department of Motor Vehicles says, that you are most likely intoxicated after two drinks. So, if they're telling me that I cannot drive a vehicle after two drinks, can you imagine what you're communication is like? Are you taking in everything? Really? Are you comprehending what the person is telling you? Are you able to articulate your point of view exactly? You need to make sure that you follow up those discussions with the email or a phone call in the morning.

31:57 C.B. Baker

If you are having an important meeting and you're having this meeting and you're cleared up all of distractions, you're in a quiet environment, you still need to back those meetings up with an e-mail or follow-up e-mail on confirmation of that. Make sure both parties understand what was said and what needs to be done. In conclusion, pay attention to what you're doing and what you're saying. It's that simple. You sit there, be quiet, you listen to what the person is saying. Pause. Articulate back to them in your communication. Make sure they understand. Use some of these tools. It will help you tremendously. Recap verbally and follow-up electronically. Recap verbally and follow-up electronically. That is the tools for battling selective hearing. I would like to thank everyone who helped me in this endeavor for us coming up with this program. I will be utilizing this program for an audio book later on. Hopefully, it will be out in the first of the year. And please stay tuned to this station. I would like to thank everybody who has contributed to Conquering Dreams of BlogTalk Radio. I thank all the fans that support me and everything that I do, that tune in every Monday night at 7 o'clock. Thank you so much for listening. And also be sure to check out conqueringdreams.com to get updates on what I will be working on and going to the places I'm going to in the future. Go to Leadership Playbook on Facebook and like my page. Also you could hear all of these episodes looping on Live365.com. That's right, on Live365.com, you will find these episodes looping. So, if you don't feel like clicking on the BlogTalk show, you can just go straight to that Live365. Download that to your computer and you will be able to hear all these great motivational speeches and conversations that I've had with people that I have interviewed online. Once again, thank you so much. Have a great week.

34:38 S

Thank you for listening to Conquering Dreams on BlogTalk Radio. If you like to book C.B Baker as your motivational speaker, please call 540-588-8139. That is 540-588-8139 or please visit our website at conqueringdreams.com for more information.