Most people are nervous about being more visible because they’re scared that people might disagree or judge them, but in reality, this is rarely what happens.
The most common response to you being more visible will be nothing – it’s so frustrating!!
You’ve spent ages gearing yourself up to speak up and share your ideas, only to feel like you’re talking into a black hole.
Believe me, I know how disheartening this is – I’ve spent nearly 3 years sharing my ideas on social media, and for the first 6-12 months I felt like I was talking to myself. But I kept showing up, and somehow you came across me, and here you are listening to what I have to say.
It took longer than I wanted, but eventually, I had people telling me that they really resonated with my message, that they found it useful and that I was making a difference to their lives. People were starting to understand.
Sharing your message and putting yourself out there in front of people for the first time takes courage.
But please don’t stop there.
Keep on sharing. Keep on showing up. Your message is important. It just takes time for it to get out there into the world.
Here are five things I learned that helped me to keep on showing up:
1. It takes time for people to understand new ideas.
When someone hears something new, it won’t always make sense to them straight away. Depending on how they absorb information, they may need time to process what you are saying and figure out how it fits into what they already know.
If the message you are communicating is very different from what they are used to, they may need to hear it multiple times from different perspectives before they start to understand.
2. It needs to make sense in their world.
We all have a model of how the world works in our head, which we’ve built up over our lifetime of experiences. This model gives us a set of rules that we may not be conscious of.
If we hear a message that appears to contradict our model of the world, it’s much easier to dismiss the message than it is to change the model. Our brain is so good at automatically filtering out the things that don’t fit the model that we may not even realise we’re doing it.
In order to help someone listen and understand your message, you need to introduce it to them in a way that matches the way they see the world. This might mean multiple attempts at sharing your ideas from multiple perspectives, or it might mean that you spend some time doing some research and discovering what their world looks like.
The closer you can get to sharing your ideas in a context that they understand, the more likely they are to listen.
3. They are more likely to listen if it’s important to them.
We’re all juggling too much to do and too much information, so we have to prioritise what we do and what we pay attention to.
People broadly have two different approaches to guide their prioritisation:
- things that they need to avoid, that might cause them problems or issues in the future (the stick)
- things that motivate them that they really want more of in their life (the carrot).
When you align your message to one or more of their priorities they are more likely to pay attention to what you have to say.
4. Feedback tells you how to adapt your message.
Feedback can come in many forms. Ideally, it’s delivered kindly and with compassion, but it won’t always be.
It may come in the form of rejection, dismissal or challenge. When this happens it can feel horrible and personal and it’s easy to assume that it means something negative about you.
All feedback means is that the other person didn’t understand your message – and their response has valuable information about why.
When you’re given feedback you have a choice:
- listen and adapt the way you communicate your message to them based on your new understanding of their world
- listen and learn something new that changes the core of your message
- ignore what they say and carry on sharing your message with other people instead.
The path you take will depend on how strongly you feel about your message and how important it is to you that this person is bought in.
5. Just because they aren’t listening it doesn’t mean it’s not important.
We all have different priorities based on our lived experience of the world. We are all here to make an impact in our own unique way.
If we all believed the same things were important life would be easy, but it might also be very dull!
If there’s something that’s important to you, then keep on showing up and talking about it. As you do, stay open and listen to other’s perspectives, and you’ll be surprised how much more likely they are to listen, and you’ll also find you learn some really interesting new things about the world along the way!
Do you have an idea or message that you’re struggling to communicate right now?
Instead of continuing to repeat the same thing over and over again until you feel like giving up, try a different approach. Take a bit of time to think about who you want to reach and what you know about their world.
How could you adapt your message so that they are more likely to understand?
If you have any questions or need any help with figuring out how to reframe your message, come over and join the discussion in my Facebook group for women in tech, or if you’d like a more in-depth exploration you can book a one-off Visibility Strategy session with me at any time using this link.
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