Now That You’re Listening…

How to Improve Your Listening Style (Part 2)

Every time I offer the exercise from last week’s blog post, Are You Listening? during a workshop or coaching session, most people get excited to identify their style. This excitement, though, soon turns to embarrassment when they realize they may not be listening to others as well as they thought they were. We all have some listening tendencies we can improve.

There is rarely a person who can’t identify with one of these tendencies. Did you have a similar experience? If so, don’t let the style get you down. Here are some ways each style can improve.

Faker: Ask questions about what the other person is talking about. This will keep you engaged and make the other person feel ‘heard.’

Interrupter: Turn your attention away from your own ‘ideas’ and switch your focus to the speaker. Try to find their motivation… instead of your own.

Intellectual or Logical Listener: Get out of your own head and connect with the speaker. Offer a compliment or ask a personal question. Also, practice remembering information. It is okay to order it, but don’t judge it.

Fisher: Fill that lull in the conversation with a question of clarification or offer some words to show you understand their experience. Leave your ego out of the conversation and find other ways to feel good about yourself.

Rebuttal Maker: Look for the ‘why’ of what the speaker is talking about, rather than the ‘what’s wrong.’ Letting the conversation naturally run its course will ultimately yield the answer you are looking for.

Advice Giver: Practice sympathy instead of problem-solving. Giving the other person room and time to find their own answer will be better for them and for the relationship between the two of you. You may even get a ‘thanks for listening.’

Take baby steps with this; you are not going to overhaul your style in one day. Focus on one or two conversations each day to be fully present and try out these strategies. Soon enough, it will come naturally to you.

Don’t forget to let me know how your conversations (and maybe even relationships) shift as you become a better listener.

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