Few things are as irritating as feeling that someone is ignoring you. If your partner seems distracted or does not appear to understand what you are talking about, there are things you can do. Follow these steps then you can know if someone is listening to you.
- Check the eyes first. The first step is to check the listener's attention. Is he making eye contact or do his eyes wander to every person that walks by? Notice whether he or she is paying attention to what you are saying or if there is some other distraction that caught his or her eye.
- Pay attention to body language. Body language tells a lot about what is going on with a person. Disinterest is evidenced by a listener who leans away, turns away or is frequently shifting and moving. These positions indicate something else has the focus of your audience, not you.
- Ask questions. If you still aren't sure whether the other person is listening to you or not, then ask a question. It can be as simple as "Do you agree?" or as complicated as "What makes the sky change colors to create a rainbow?" Be aware that a response of yes or uh huh doesn't mean that the other person is listening. Instead a noncommittal answer is more indicative that the person hears you but is not listening.
- Try a little test. The final step to determining if someone is listening is to test him or her. Toss in a few nonsense words or a complete change of subject. This change should have a listener changing posture and looking back at you since you were not making sense. If the listener continues to respond with uh huh or ok then you have confirmed that the person is not listening to you.
- Consider your options. If you've learned from the previous steps that the person is not listening to you, don't take it personally. He or she might have something preying on their mind. She might be distracted. Or you may have chosen a bad time to have a conversation. Consider these options before getting angry at being ignored. Then you can decide if you should give up, get angry or try again at a better time.
It only takes a few minutes and these simple steps to determine if someone is listening to you. Be aware that if you catch someone not listening and call him out on it, you may create more problems than it is worth. So consider your options and determine if you should try the conversation at a better time.