Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Kind of Listener are You?

(source: The Straits Times Saturday, August 15 2009 - CATS Recruit R26)

Several types of Listeners are described in this article:
  • Shallow or Superficial - Pretend to be listening. In other words, it's being physicall present while the mind has gone astray! This happens often during opening Address of events/ceremonies is so generic and nothing's new. Sometimes, I just wonder, are the VIPs being invited to give the Opening Address because it's a usual practice? (Doing it for the sake of doing it?) Sometimes, it's not meaningful at all! Of course, there are also those that we look out for announcements that impact us. So, it's the 'standard procedure' that kills its significance?
  • Impatient - the tendenacy to interrupt and finish the sentence for the speaker. Oh! Come across so many such people in group conversation. Really, sometimes I would just wonder, "Where are your manners? You have so much good things (or even better things) to share? Let others finish first - it's respect and you might find jewels in what you hear". Of course, I must also take my hat off for such people who could discard other's reaction and 'cheong' the way in... er... ok, it's an art to know how to interrupt and stop others (which I doubt I would ever master such a skill!)
  • Self-absorbed - being preoccupied with himself or his own thoughts, needs and problems. Well, come across this, and in fact, it's hard to carry on conversation with this kind of "listener" 'cos it seems like his/her point is always more important while others aren't. So, what's the point of talking? They just need an empty vessel to 'pour' their needs and concerns!
  • Other-absorbed - subordinating & unassertive. Never dominates a conversation and barely participate at all.
  • Literal - analytical and listens to the words carefully without realising that effective listening comes from the heart - missing out the emotional & non-verbal content of the message. Anyway, sometimes we have to practise literal understanding to downplay the emotion, especially if we are fully aware the strength of the speaker is to use tone and expressions to hype up one's emotion and sway one's thoughts!
  • Critical - judges according to preconceived ideas and own point of view. Yes, yes... especially if one hears what's against his/her proposal! It could ended up being defensive... and often one does not listen. He hears.
  • Adviser - give sincere but unsolicited advice, telling the speaker what to do or how to solve the problem. Oops! Sometimes tend to fall into this trap... with good intention. Think about it, perhaps the advice born out of the good intention might not be relevant at all times. Or sometimes it's not worth the effort?
  • Interrogator - asks lots of questions to get additional information and to control the information. Hm... So, beware when we try to clarify during the conversation. Over-doing it and not informing the listener the intent/rationale behind may make us sound like interrogating.
  • Empathetic - listens from the heart, builds rapport and is attentive and interested, does not judge or criticise and seeks to understand the speaker's point of view and feelings. Well, well... it comes with sincerity and experience!

Well, I think there's a lot to do with "Who's talking" and the "Background/Context of the Conversation".

One thing that I agree is, how we listen would greatly affect how others will respond to us. However, the reverse is true, too! How well the other party listens affects how we respond (listen) too! The effect/impact resonates!

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