Subtle Signs that People Aren’t Listening to You

I read with interest an article about a new book, Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact, by Nick Morgan. He talked about all the fake listening that people do while they act as if they are listening to you. He listed seven:

  1. Their eye contact is too fixed, and their heads are too still.
  2. They smile too brightly and for too long.
  3. They tap their fingers.
  4. They fidget.
  5. Their body is turned away from you.
  6.  Their feet are pointed towards the door.
  7. They don’t mirror your body language.

This got me to thinking about other subtle ways you can tell people are not listening to you. Here are ten more:

  1. They fall asleep. This is a dead giveaway.
  2. They don’t notice when you stop talking.
  3. You ask them a question and they just nod their heads.
  4. They tell you in English that they don’t speak English.
  5. They wave a crucifix and a strand of garlic at you and attempt to drive a stake into your heart.
  6. They let their dog pee on your shoes.
  7. They put coins into your coffee cup and walk away.
  8. They hold up a lapel pin and ask you to speak into it.
  9. They steal your watch and wallet.
  10. They fake a heart attack so they don’t have to listen to you.

If you notice this type of behavior, stop talking. Your audience has stopped listening to you.



Add yours →

  1. I like it. You made me laugh, and I always appreciate anyone who can do that.


  2. Great! I’ll never be able to get away with number 10 again. Thanks!


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