Wednesday, March 21, 2018
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One of the biggest problems self-advocates face is not being listened to.  It can be frustrating to speak up and not be heard.

Tips to help ensure that you are more likely to be listened to:



It might seem funny but when you make the effort to listen closely to others they are more likely to listen to you!

When you take the time to listen to others you will understand more about the situation.

  • Let others have their say
  • Try to see it from their point of view
  • Ask them questions about what they are saying
  • Use good body language – nod, “mirror” them
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Use eye contact – look them in the eyes, or look at their ears, forehead or chin


Keep to the point

Plan what you want to say:

  • What is the main message you want to get across? Remember your issue!
  • What are the points you want to make?


Communicate clearly

Use a clear voice that is loud enough to be heard.

If other ways to communicate help you, have them ready to use

Write up a list of your message and points – this will keep you on track but also make it easier for others to follow you

Use photos or video to support or tell your story


Look like you should be listened to

 Our body language should support your message. How you sit or stand tells people whether you are worth listening to or not.

Sit or stand up straight and tall. Feel confident. Keep your body language ‘open’ – don’t cross your arms across your body (this tells people to keep away). Look calm.

Look like you are listening to what others are saying – turn toward them and look at them


Use support

It is ok to have a friend or supporter with you when you are speaking up.

You don’t have to, but if you would like to have someone with you go ahead and ask someone.  Be sure to tell them what support you are expecting from them – should they speak or would you prefer they stay silent?

Bring them back

If people get distracted and are talking about other things it’s OK to say something like

  • If we could get back to what we were talking about”
  • or “Can we focus on the topic”
  • If people are talking over the top of you, you can use statements such as
  • if I can finish what I was saying…”
  • Or “Please let me have my say”


Tell them

If you are really struggling to get people to listen to you, it’s OK to tell them that it’s an issue for you.  Think about what you would like from them instead and be sure to tell them that.