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Last week’s blog title was “Listening is Hard”. In this week’s blog I flip the script, by underscoring the need to be heard. I might be going out on a limb assuming that we have all been in conversations in which we did not feel heard. Maybe it was a meeting where you made a point or suggestion that was not acknowledged; a few minutes later someone says the same thing and he or she is recognized. Have you ever been talking with someone and they turn on the television, put in the ear buds, accept a phone call in the middle of the conversation or just turn away? If the conversation is light, it might not matter is much. But the more important the issue is to you the more upsetting – possibly infuriating – those behaviors can be. On the other hand, the person exhibiting them might not intend to be dismissive. We live in the age of multi-taskers. Their attention might have been redirected to another task, nevertheless, not having someone’s full attention diminishes the quality of the conversation and can lead to misunderstandings which cause mistakes. More importantly, not being heard is frustrating. I have found that people aren’t always asking for agreement, but just want to be heard. Years ago, we were in negotiation with a labor union president. We were going back and forth on an issue I thought was unreasonable. In the end, she asked me to just listen to the entire proposal. Based on the circumstances, she knew some of the demands were not possible. The membership just wanted to be heard. Being heard ended a contentious debate and we were able to find a win-win solution. I can’t recall the author, but I read that the persons who listen first, win negotiations. It maybe counter intuitive, but give it a try.