Do you wait for positive attention, or ask for it?
Recently I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to get positive attention.
One of the people on my mailing list, “Daniel”, asked, “whenever I’m hanging with my friends I end up being very quiet if there’s several of us there, and no one seems to ask me my opinion about things like they do when there’s just a couple of us. How do I get people to give me more attention and ask me to participate more?”
Another question came in another email exchange with “Ryan” after I asked if he was quiet in social settings because he didn’t have anything to say, or didn’t know how to say it. He answered, “I def have a lot to say but how do I know that people want to hear it? It’s not like I’m ever the center of attention so I don’t really know what people want me to say.”
Both Kjetil and Ryan (fake names, by the way, to protect their identity) are waiting for the positive attention of others, rather than asking for it.
They are hoping that at some point, or by them knowing some trick, others will invite them to take the floor and speak their mind more often.
But while it’s nice when that happens, it’s rare that it does. Especially in larger groups, if you don’t know the people you’re with well, or if you typically don’t take the floor yourself.
This habit of waiting for an invitation to take up social space, rather than claiming it when we want it, is a habit that will hold us back in more than the obvious way. Not only does it ensure that we rarely get the opportunity to speak our mind in a group – but it also ensures that we will be invited to fewer groups.
You see, people want connection. As humans we crave it, we need it. And among us humans, connection is primarily built through conversations. Through exchanging thoughts, ideas, experiences, and opinions.
So in order to experience connection, we have to spend time with someone who communicates with us.
In any group, the one doing the least communication will, therefore, have the least opportunity to connect with someone. That both means that they will be less likely to be included in the group in the future and that whoever is in the group loses more and more interest in connecting with them because they don’t feel like there’s a connection there, to begin with.
If we claim attention, however – if we speak up whenever we have anything to say or ask – we increase the likelihood of creating connections, even when what we have to say is something that the other people disagree with!
You see, we will always create more connection with someone we communicate with than someone we do not communicate with – even if the communication is a disagreement.
Because of this, we have absolutely nothing to lose by speaking up, and everything to lose by staying silent.
If we speak up and what we have to say is disagreed with, deemed not interesting, found to be wrong, or whatever else – we will still increase the memories we have together with the people listening. There will be more substance to the relationship they have to us (and we to them). There will have been more communication in our history, which tends to lead to a stronger bond in the future.
And, in most cases, it takes a lot for us to be so off the mark with what we say that it is disagreed with or dismissed out of hand. In most cases, the people we are with will agree at least with some of what we say. Or find it at least somewhat interesting, or fun, or insightful, or whatever. And – I’m sure I don’t have to tell you – that increases our connection even more.
If you want to be more seen, socially speaking, if you want to be asked to participate more, if you want to connect better with the people around you, if you want to be included more – if you want more positive attention – practice speaking up when you have something to say.
Don’t wait to be given the spotlight, claim the spotlight by speaking your mind in a clear voice.
Show the world around you that you are there, that you have your own thoughts, and that you want to share them – and others will start to give you more and more space as they get used to it.
This is what Likable people (as you’ve learned about in my new course) do all the time. Those who get the most attention are not the ones who are invited to give it – they are the ones who claim it by speaking up.
By the way, did you know that I answer emails almost every day – for free? If you have any questions about anything that you think I might be able to help you with, please click here and send them my way.
I absolutely love hearing from the people on my mailing list, I love helping (that’s why I do this job!), and one of my favorite things to see in my inbox is an email from someone new with a question or two.
Hope to talk to you soon!