Are You Listening?

What Kind of Listener Are You? (Part 1)

Rate the following listening scenarios from 1 – 10, with 1 being most like you and 10 being the least.

A. ___  Your co-worker is telling you about how her boyfriend of three years abruptly dumped her the night before. You appear to be listening – nodding, smiling (when appropriate), making those ‘sad eyes’ when she tears up. You even interject the occasion ‘uh-huh.’ But in your mind, you are planning what to order for lunch.

B. ___  Your friend is telling you about a new marketing idea they want to pitch to their boss. You feed off their enthusiasm and start spurting out your own ideas. No need to wait for them to finish their thoughts – or even pause to take a breath. You need to get all your ideas out before you forget them, and your brilliance on this topic is lost forever.

C. ___ Your boss is presenting the next team project. Everyone else appears to be taking notes, but you are wondering: “Where is the logic?” “Does this make sense?” “Why did she use that word?” Your boss seems very excited about this new project, but her feelings are not important to you. You just need to understand the overall theme and logic of what she is talking about.

D. ___ Your significant other starts telling you about their crazy day at the office, but before long you have hijacked the conversation. You had an even crazier day – you are sure of it. They won’t mind you sharing your story, it is probably more interesting than theirs anyway.

E. ___ Your son’s teacher is explaining what she will be focusing on over the next quarter. While she is talking, you are thinking: What’s wrong with this picture? I know there is a flaw in here somewhere? I am not argumentative; I just like a good debate.

F. ___ Your co-worker confides in you they are considering leaving their job to travel for a few months, but they are not sure it is a good time. This is an easy problem, you think. Actually, it’s not even a problem.  I can solve this for them in no time. By the end of this conversation, they will be set straight and be much happier.

Now, let’s see where you fall amongst the ‘listening styles.’ Find the description that you marked as ‘#1” (most like you) and see what letter it is next to. Match your letter below to learn about your style.

A. The Faker: On the surface, you appear to be fully engaged in what the other person is saying, but if they only knew…  You are completely checked out and thinking about other topics when people are talking to you.

B. The Interrupter: No need to wait for the other person to finish their sentence, you have something REALLY important to say.  You better get your thoughts out before you forget them.

C. The Intellectual or Logical Listener: You can barely focus on what the other person is talking about because you are too busy trying to uncover the logic and pattern of what they are saying. Where are they going with this? you ask. You often miss parts of the story searching for your ‘logic.’

D. The Fisher: You listen to others while seeking out the perfect opportunity to jump in and show them how their story relates back to you. You often say things like, “The same thing happened to me. Let me tell you about the time…”

E. The Rebuttal Maker: You do not consider yourself argumentative, though you are often accused of being ‘difficult.’ You just have a knack for finding what’s wrong with what other people are saying. And you feel obligated to let them know about it.

F. The Advice Giver: You see yourself as a great giver of advice. You love helping others out with their problems – even when they didn’t ask for guidance. You often don’t even need to hear the whole story to know what they should do. You are just ‘that good.’

Surprised by the way you listen (or maybe don’t listen) to others? Check back next week when I will share ways for each style to improve on their listening skills.

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