Is it hard for you to have your voice heard? I often hear people share that they feel like they aren’t listened to and that their voice is not heard or taken seriously.

There can be many dynamics in relationships that cause this, especially if it has been a pattern for a long period of time. It’s important to take steps that you can control to better your chances of feeling heard.

Here are 6 tips to help you have your voice heard:

Watch your tone

If you want people to listen to you, it’s important to pay attention to your tone. Many of my clients will hear me say like a broken record “Tone matters.” It alters your message greatly. So make sure your tone isn’t blocking your message from being heard.

Use firm language

When communicating with people, it’s important to use language that’s clear and understandable rather than wishy-washy and uncommitted. When people use phrases like: “seems like”, “maybe” “I think” etc. it can feel loose and unsure. Using more firm language that is clear will help people know what you mean and what you need.

Don’t use absolutes

Always. Never. Every time. All the time.  Anything. All. Nothing. No one. These absolute phrases can confuse your voice from being heard. When people hear an absolute, they tend to think about how the statement is untrue and think of ways to defend the statement. For example, if you say “You never help around the house.” The person you are talking to may respond with, “Actually last week, I unloaded the dishwasher.” This causes your message to be lost and go on a detour because of the absolute language.

Speak truth and don’t exaggerate

Being honest will help your voice be heard. When people exaggerate and bend the truth, it inhibits people from listening to your message. Exaggerating causes someone to question your integrity.

Use “I” statements to help reduce defensiveness

When someone is defensive, they’re more worried about protecting themselves than listening to your message. When you use “you” statements, it can cause someone to feel like you’re criticizing and that your finger is pointing at them. Using the word “I” more helps your message stay focused on you and what you’re feeling and needing, and helps them be less defensive.

Follow through on what you’ve said

If you don’t follow through, people will tend to not believe your words. It makes it easier to dismiss your voice and not listen. Make sure you do what you say you’re going to do in order for people to hear you, believe you, and take you more seriously.

Remember that having a voice doesn’t always mean that you get your way, but it does give you a chance to be more understood. Try these tips to help you communicate better in your relationships.