How to Get Heard, and Understood

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How often have you told your boarders or staff something and later they say they either don't remember you saying anything or they misunderstood? Here are some tips on making sure your message gets across.

  1. Make sure it is pertinent. You might have lots to say, but is what you have to say something that the other person wants or needs to hear? Don’t waste your owners’ or employees' time with babble. Remember the boy who cried wolf? After a while others will quit listening to you, even when you have something important to say.
  2. Get their attention. Even if it means asking your boarders or employees to stop what they are doing and look at you, make sure you have their attention before you tell them something that they need to know. The retention factor will be much greater if you do this.
  3. Make sure it is understandable. It doesn’t matter if you have the most pertinent, appropriate, amazing information in the world, if your message isn’t understandable to the other person, you might as well be lecturing in Latin. You can’t tell the same information the same way to every customer or employee and expect them to understand. Learn to look for subtle body signs that say the person isn’t understanding what you say, or ask questions that help you determine if they are understanding.
  4. Ask them to repeat the information back to you or put it in their calendars. Don't give someone important information and assume they will remember. Let's say you are telling clients that you will be going on vacation Aug. 18-25, so you won't be offering trailering to the local show like you did last year and they should contact the barn manager with any problems. If you are talking to Mike and you trailered him to the show last year, you should ask if he's going to the show, and if so, does he need your help to arrange other transportation. If you are talking to Susie and she didn't go to the show last year, but she's been showing more this year, make sure she doesn't assume that you will provide transportation this year. Then do the same as with Mike and see if you can help her organize a ride. Maybe even get her and Mike together to share expenses. Ask both of them to put the show in their calendars along with the name and number of the gal who is willing to haul them to the show. Then share that with your barn manager.
  5. Provide information in multiple formats. If you are going on vacation Aug. 18-25 and boarders should contact Joan the barn manager with any problems, you should tell your customers face-to-face, post a note on the barn's bulletin board, send an email, and even send a group text. Make sure you provide Joan's phone and email address so they can add it easily to their contacts.

While you might get heard by just talking a lot, unfortunately your message could be getting lost and your information misunderstood. Follow these five tips for getting heard, and understood.