What To Do When No One Will Listen To You (Part 2)

Write. Write down your thoughts, ideally on paper or your own website or both (as opposed to just on social media where they will vanish). The written word is great because it will sit and wait indefinitely — even across lifetimes — for its readers to arrive. Another great thing I find about writing is that it helps me unload and sort my brain regularly so I’m less tempted to talk too much, babble incoherently, interrupt people, etc. — all of which I have done on far more occasions than I care to admit.

Don’t make people expend an inordinate amount of labor to figure out what you’re trying to say. Summarize your basic point in 1-2 simple sentences. If you are communicating via an online channel and sending links, never send what I call “naked links.” Always include 1-2 sentences in your own words summarizing what the link is about and why you are sending it to this person. If you’re not willing to take the time to do this, why should your intended recipient be willing to take the time to click on a link and wade through content that might be of no interest to them, and try to guess why you sent it?

Not trying to be harsh, but communications takes bandwidth, and I don’t just mean electronic bits and bytes; I mean human attention. With the noise-to-signal ratio at an all-time high right now, we each need to do our part to streamline our communications. If you feel passionate about something (be it a petition against sprawl development or a GoFundMe for a business you love that is about to go under), it can be hard to express yourself in words about it. It can seem easier to just send a link to someone else’s words about the subject. But slow down, take a deep breath, and take a minute to add a few of your own words; your recipients are more likely to listen and maybe share. This is one case where we can actually streamline communications by adding a few words. (Think of it as a mini cover-letter for your cause, event, etc.)

You can read Part 1 of this post here.