Being heard is a skill

posted by Jeff | Friday, July 26, 2019, 2:30 PM | comments: 0

I pride myself on being a thorough communicator. I think I write reasonably well, and I try to be clear and concise to convey the right information at the right time. As it turns out though, being heard is really a separate skill. Just because you're saying the right things to the right people at the right time doesn't mean that you're being heard.

This is an important distinction, and one I've learned about again this week. I've been expressing a series of concerns at work for some time, putting the words on "paper," but haven't followed up to make sure that the message was received. The concerns manifested themselves in a production problem, which got people's attention, but that's certainly not the kind of attention that anyone really wants. I take responsibility, because the larger category of work that I was advocating for should have already had buy-in and started, but I wasn't heard.

Being heard means that you can confirm that your message was received, it was considered, and it was acted upon (even if that means confirming that it was being dismissed). It's the follow-up. As my career has progressed, and I've had to operate in larger operating units, I've learned that this is an important skill. The more moving parts there are, the more important it is.

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