Why your words aren’t having any impact

You're talking - but do they understand you?

Read on - because planning your presentations and pitches will be quicker and simpler after reading this post. You will spend less time figuring out what to say - but achieve more impact.


3 big reasons why people don't understand the meaning of what we are saying.

I am talking about people speaking the same language and with full hearing capacity.

They hear the words coming out of your mouth - but they don't get the point you are trying to make - they tune out and you have made no impact. It might be because you are:

  1. Beating around the bush
  2. Niggled by Self-doubt
  3. Ego focussed

1. Beating around the bush.

Your mindset:

You are afraid of being direct in case it sounds rude or bossy.

The symptoms:

  • Going off on tangents
  • Over use of humour and polite chit chat content
  • Repeating phrases such as - sort of, maybe, a bit like, depending on, could be, not sure if...
  • Upward inflection or fading off at end of sentences - and therefore never really ending sentences.

What they hear:

A muddle. They are having to work too hard to spot the 'point' of what you are saying. They think they have it - then it slips away again. They give up trying and just nod politely or start looking over your shoulder or at their phone!

The solution:

  • Re-frame: Why do I think being direct equates with being 'rude or bossy'?
  • This might take a little digging - some unpacking of old 'baggage' perhaps? Some deeply held beliefs that need chucking out?

How about saying this:

I have a good point to make - or a relevant message to convey - and they will be interested in hearing it.  They will thank me for making it clear and concise so they don't have to work too hard to understand. The only reason it would be received as being rude or bossy is if I show this in my body language and attitude - or use certain words like 'take it or leave it mate'!!

2. Niggled by Self-doubt

Your mindset:

You feel you need to put a lot of facts and qualifiers into the message in order to be credible.

The Symptoms:

  • Talking about your CV when not asked
  • Using jargon/stats/quotes - when not needed

What they hear:

A bore or even a braggart!

Someone lacking in confidence.

No clear message - it is buried in irrelevant information

The solution:

  • Reframe: They want to know what is in it for them- they are not interested in clever clogs stuff -  if I keep it simple I will sound far more credible.  Less is more.
  • Take some time out to read up on 'impostor syndrome' and self-doubt
  • Consider using story to get your message across in a more engaging way - people don't want your CV but they do want stories - check out this episode of the Explory Story Podcast)

3. Ego focussed


You are not thinking about the other person because you are inside your own head.

The Symptoms:

  • No pauses. You are not giving them space to enter the conversation or feel they are there.
  • You are explaining things from your point of view only. 'I this, I that, I the other...'
  • You are talking about things they have no knowledge of - as if they should have.

What they hear:

Virtually nothing! They will tune out very quickly and start thinking about something else.

The Solution:

  • Take a deep breath in through your nose - filling your diaphram (stomach goes out in other words).
  • Breathe out through mouth. Relax your posture. Look around and be present.
  • Become curious - a detective approach rather than a broadcasting one.
  • Watch for non-verbal signals from the listener that inform you about their interest levels!
  • Leave space for them to be part of the conversation - even in a presentation you can give them this feeling.
  • Ask questions.
  • Check out this post - less ego more engagement

Why this matters?

Put in the effort and your wise words will no longer be wasted.  They will not only hear you , they will be motivated to listen and respond. You will make an impact and invite action.

The next action to take

You need to unravel your thinking, your defaults, your purpose and your delivery style - and the best way to do this is working with a coach who starts from the inside and works to align your thinking, your message and your delivery style - and identify just what will be going on for the other person in each situation. The Director's Chair Coaching TM will help you make an impact.

Get in touch - we can work one-to-one at my office, or suitable venue.

Skype sessions can be arranged.

Share the insight

Trisha Lewis

I help people become more effective communicators through the kind of coaching that offers a safe space to explore and rehearse and better understand the impact they have. My blog is full of insights and tactics that will help you break down the barriers that prevent you from being a truly effective communicator. These insights are based on my own experience as well as the issues raised during coaching sessions and workshops.