We’ve all been there, you’re having a conversation with a person you are desperately trying to impress and you’re trying so hard to make your response matter that the end result is that you’ve stopped listening temporarily to the conversation.
Whilst this is often a natural response when a conversation matters greatly, it can result in you missing key parts of the conversation and let’s face it, the bit you miss is often likely to be the most important.
This is why developing good listening skills is vital, as only when you truly listen and engage in a conversation, is there the chance to create respect, credibility and trust.
However, the truth is that very few of us listen properly and so many of us often take the skill of listening for granted and don’t see it as a skill that is valuable to improve. This couldn’t be further from the truth as taking steps to improve your listening skills can also see great improvements to your career.
So, what type of listener are you?
Appreciative Listeners - the appreciative listener is flexible in their approach but they prefer listening to things that they want to hear. They tune into sound, use their perceptions and their past experiences. Depending on these individual factors, they may have open minds or consider themselves experts in specific areas.
Time Listeners - Time listeners can seem impatient. They are often governed by tight deadlines and their to-do lists. Their nature indicates they need quick, detailed discussions so they can be organised and efficient. A time listener will often interrupt and consistently give furtive glances towards their watch or clock.
People Listeners - this listener strives to form rapport with the speaker. They tend to listen out for and respond to emotions, and are known to be empathic. Unfortunately, this type of listener can sometimes come across as intrusive as they push for more information of a personal nature.
Action Listeners - action listeners do not respond well when the speaker is less than detailed or has a rambling story to tell. Action listeners want precise, to-the-point information so that they can deal with any issues. Action listeners are prone to be impatient at times, often failing to establish a relationship with the speaker. They may even talk over them to finish off their sentences in an attempt to get the information they need.
Content Listeners - this type of listener is more concerned with the information being given than about establishing any type of rapport. They often ask very direct questions and may even come across as intimidating. They do consider all sides of any discussion, but need the speaker to provide evidence to support their claims; otherwise their viewpoint will likely be discarded.
So, do you now know what type of listener you are? It can really help to know, especially when looking to make improvements to your listening skills. To make sound improvements, try the following top tips:
Remember to make eye contact as this shows attentiveness and interest and ensures that the listener must listen.
Allow the speaker to finish their sentence and avoid interrupting.
Analyse the comments that have been made before voicing a response.
Don’t be afraid of a little silence and feel compelled to fill with chatter.
Repeat the main points of the dialogue once the speaker has finished as this endorses the fact that the message has been received and understood.