Have you ever worked with a bad listener? Someone who just can’t seem to hear what you’re saying (no matter how many times you say it)? It can certainly be frustrating – especially if you’re working on a project together and good communication is crucial.

So what should you do if you can’t get your message across? Here are three ideas:

  1. Start asking questions – You’ve tried talking to the person, and that clearly hasn’t been working. So try switching things up! Instead of doing all the talking, start asking questions. Ask the person open-ended questions like, “What do you think of my idea?” Or say, “What would you do to tackle this problem?” This technique will hopefully make the person feel more engaged and invested in the conversation. And if it turns out that the person is confused or ignoring you, at least it will be immediately evident.
  2. Communicate in a new way – If you haven’t had any luck talking to a person, try delivering information in a different way. Send the person an email with a list of your suggestions. The person might be able to remember and process the information more effectively if it’s written down.
  3. Ask for help – It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to confront the person about his or her bad listening skills. It would most likely make the person feel defensive and even less willing to listen. But you could ask the person to help you become a better listener. You could say, “I’m working on developing my communication skills. Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve them?” The person might provide you with some helpful tips. And, even better, it will probably make the person start thinking about his or her own listening skills, and encourage the person to try harder when communicating with you in the future.


McCord, S. (n.d.). 3 ways to deal with a bad listener that are better than constantly repeating yourself. The Muse. Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-ways-to-deal-with-a-bad-listener-that-are-better-than-constantly-repeating-yourself?ref=recently-published-2