• Ricka Robb Kohnstamm

What is the best way to feel heard, especially when it really matters?  

When the going gets tough and it really matters that people hear what you have to say, you have choice about which strategy to use.


Some people use the strategy of getting big and loud - HEAR ME!!! SEE ME!!! DO WHAT I SAY OR ELSE!!!! They accompany this strategy with slamming doors, fists thumping on counters, expletives and lots of exclamation points in texts. And then, for sure, you will hear me!!!! And not only hear me, you will do what I say!!!!!!!!!

  • "Come home when I tell you to!"

  • "Stop obstructing progress in our division!"

  • "Listen to me when I am speaking!"

This strategy rarely gets the desired result because the listener is too busy ducking and covering from the fire... children are not able to successfully take in messaging when this strategy is used, and neither are coworkers, family members, or community members.


Another strategy some people use when trying to be heard is to withdraw altogether, cover their head and sulk, or perhaps simply disappear into the woodwork and suffer in silence. And, of course, an important part of this strategy is to make sure people are very aware that you are suffering. THEN everyone will know you don't agree! Certainly someone will ask what is wrong! Essentially, "If you won't hear me, I will punish you by withdrawing my participation. Take that!"

  • "Why should I even make the effort to show up if you are not going to take my opinion seriously?"

  • "I obviously don't matter in this family, so I'll just stay back."

  • "My opinion clearly doesn't matter to my boss, so why even make the effort to pretend?"

This strategy rarely gets the desired result either, because the listener is often confused about what is really being communicated. "You say you don't care, but it actually sounds like you care a lot. Huh?"


Here is a strategy that actually works... it takes skill and practice. And it is easier than you might imagine.

Pause to consider WHAT you really think and WHY it is important to you.

  • "Come home when I tell you to!"

  • I am terrified that something bad might happen to you if you are out all night and I can't bear losing you.

  • "Stop obstructing progress in our division!"

  • We need to see tangible progress in order to maintain federal funding and I am afraid we aren't going to meet our deadline.

  • "Listen to me when I am speaking!"

  • I am exhausted and am not feeling heard in any area of my life and being heard by you is a lifeline I count on.

Stay mindfully in your own lane.

  • "Why should I even make the effort to show up if you are not going to take my opinion seriously?"

  • I am discouraged because what I am trying to explain to you matters a lot to me. I care deeply and want to be included.

  • "I obviously don't matter in this family, so I'll just stay back."

  • I know I matter in this family and I'm also hearing I have the minority position. I am going to give myself a time out to clear my head. I'll come back "in" when I am ready.

  • "My opinion clearly doesn't matter to my boss, so why even make the effort to pretend?"

  • When I stand back, I can see that my boss and I are invested in different strategies to meet our financial goals. I have a choice to make about how to approach this and I'm going to take 24 hours to consider my options.

Focus on tangible next steps, rather than ultimate outcomes.

  • "Come home when I tell you to!"

  • I'm sorry I yelled, I know it's not great way to get my message across. I am terrified that something bad might happen to you if you are out all night and I can't bear losing you. Will you agree to come home by midnight tonight and then we can talk about it again tomorrow, when we are both less hot under the collar?

  • "Stop obstructing progress in our division!"

  • I'm sorry I spoke so sharply. I value your opinions. We need to see tangible progress in order to maintain Federal funding and I am afraid we aren't going to meet our deadline. Can we sit down in an hour and jointly create an action plan?

  • "Listen to me when I am speaking!"

  • I lost my temper again. I am sorry. I am exhausted and am not feeling heard in any area of my life and being heard by you is a lifeline for me. Could we sit together for a half an hour without our phones so that I can share what is on my mind?

  • "Why should I even make the effort to show up if you are not going to take my opinion seriously?"

  • I am discouraged because what I am trying to explain to you matters a lot to me. I care deeply and want to be included. Could we try working with a mediator so that we can make progress on this?

  • "I obviously don't matter in this family, so I'll just stay back."

  • I know I matter in this family and I'm also hearing I have the minority position. I am going to give myself time out to clear my head. I'm going to take a walk and I'll come back "in" to the conversation when I feel ready to listen to what everyone else has to say.

  • "My opinion clearly doesn't matter to my boss, so why even make the effort to pretend?"

  • When I stand back, I can see that my boss and I are invested in different strategies to meet our financial goals. I have a choice to make about how to approach this and I'm going to take 24 hours to consider my options. I feel afraid because my boss usually "wins" but I am going to speak, with courage and let the chips fall where they may.

Notice the difference?


Actions, aligned with values, support optimal health.

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ABOUT 

RICKA

Hello, I'm Ricka -

Ricka Kohnstamm Executive & Physician Coach Profile Photo

I'm a Nationally Board Certified (NBC-HWC) Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coach. I specialize in working with physician leaders, corporate leaders, non-profit executives and their families to navigate complex work and personal issues so they can strengthen their relationships, heal, and feel hopeful about the future again. 

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