Everyone wants to make sure that their opinions are well heard and contribute in some way to the conversation or decision-making process. While doing say can prove difficult for both women and men, women are often not given enough credibility and their opinions are dismissed as useless.
Be it at home or at the workplace, it is important to ensure that your opinions are heard and taken into consideration as this will empower you and the people around you will give you more respect.
Your goal should be understanding
You need to first be a great listener in order to be heard. This means that the goal within a conversation or group discussion should not be to ensure that your point gets across. Rather, the goal should be understanding each other’s viewpoints. When you force feed someone your opinion, you are guaranteeing failure and lack of respect for yourself. Instead, you need to carefully understand what the other person is saying and where they are coming from. This approach will ensure that your opinion is heard and respected.
Acknowledge the opinion of others
Along with the importance of being a great listener, another thing which is important is accepting the other person’s viewpoint. You need to acknowledge someone else’s viewpoint by complimenting their reasoning and looking for a point that you genuinely agree with. Once you have done this, the other person will feel heard and be willing to accept your take on the matter as well and with equal amount of grace.
Say it in a way that makes it valuable to others
Can you identify what the people around you want the most? Work with it. Frame your opinion in a way that rather than getting your point across, it becomes something of value to the other person. This person may act on that opinion or may not act upon it, but they will listen to your opinion very well, since it will help them achieve their goals.
Educate others first
Rather than selling your opinion, make sure you educate your listener about the back story behind this opinion that you firmly believe in. Describe the incident which led you to feel in a particular way and then talk about why their opinion differs from your opinion and its final impact on the situation at hand.
When the other person or group of people are sharing their opinion, it is important for you to stay interested and curious. You can even make notes if you want to. The bottom line is, if you have a differing viewpoint, you’ll better be able to put forth why you think your method could work better keeping in mind the current situation. Making sure you listen with respect can help other people remain glued to your words when you talk and share your opinion.
Gaining credibility is also very important when it comes to making sure that your opinion is heard by the audience. This means that you need to demonstrate why your opinions matter and why they need to be heard. You need to start sharing your viewpoint with the fact that your viewpoint has earned you success in the past. Stating examples of previous successes can also help you gain enough credibility and ensure that you are well heard.
Aarushi is a 19-year-old Law Student based in New Delhi, India. She is the founder of a student-led initiative for educating girls called SDG5. She is passionate about working for gender equality and for a better world.