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What to Do When Nobody Listens…

Filed under: Blog Post,Health & Training |     

By: Doug Emerson, The Profitable Horseman

My Mother asked,  “How many times do I have to repeat myself?”

I answered, ” ’bout a million.”

At age 12, my attention span was short and thankfully my mother was long on patience. I knew I had a problem with listening to my mother. Had Mom asked a wise sage what to do about my problem of not listening well, he would have told her repetition is good for communication.

Repetition is not only good for communication, it’s good for physical fitness, playing an instrument and training horses.

You, just like me, firmly believe you are skilled at giving instructions, relaying messages and expressing your point of view. Your thoughts are verbalized or written in a way that makes perfect sense…to you.

Why is it then that our perfect instructions are so imperfectly executed?

You say to your employee: “Clean all of the stalls and check water buckets.” Your employee picks through the stalls, adds bedding where he feels appropriate and fills only the water buckets that are less than half full. You are astonished that all of the stalls are not bedded at the same level and that all of the water buckets are not full.

You say to your riding student: “Use more inside leg and push him out in the corners.” Five minutes later, the student complains, “He keeps cutting in on the corners, I don’t know what to do.”

You say to the prospective horse purchaser: “This mare is a talented athlete that wins in the show ring, but she has a low tolerance for a beginner rider.” Ten minutes later the prospective buyer asks, “Will she be OK with my young children in walk-trot classes?”

Failed communication is more common than successful communication. So how do you improve your communication in business, with friends and at home?

  • Ask the listener to repeat the directions back to you
  • Summarize the key points at the close of your instructions
  • Rephrase the communication several ways
  • Deliver the communication in verbal and written forms

The following recommendation is repeatedly offered to public speakers for delivering an effective talk:

  • Introduction  Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em.
  • Body              Tell ’em.
  • Conclusion   Tell ‘ em what you told ’em.

Try this technique with delivering instructions.

Need I say more?

Of course, and I will another way on a different day.

If you are looking for horse business help, need a speaker for your equine event or are interested in attending or hosting a horse business workshop, email me here: mail to: or call 716-434-5371.

Doug Emerson helps professional horsemen struggling with the business half of the horse business.

Visit his website: for more articles like this one and to subscribe to his free electronic newsletter about being profitable in the horse business.


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