Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Poor Listening

Listening is such an important part of life, and let’s face it, most of us are generally terrible at it! We all have our own agendas and are generally too preoccupied to really listen. A good listener is a rare thing. I learned so much about listening and the types in my communications classes, and I feel it should be something shared with everyone! I have to be careful when I start planning events that I hear exactly what people want and cater to their style and needs---not my own. My opinion doesn’t necessarily matter unless it is warranted!

There are different types of listening and some of the poor listening habits include:
Pseudo-listening-fake listening: How often do you nod your head and are completely physically in the conversation, but your mind is somewhere else?

Scene Stealers—looking for any opportunity to turn the conversation about them
         “Oh Cool, but let’s talk about me!”
These can also be people who are trying to “one up” all the time

Gap Filling—Miss a message because we hear one thing and jump to conclusions or “fill in the gap,” and miss the rest of the message, completely alter it, and lose the meaning of it.
These people tend to make snap judgments without really hearing the whole thing.

Selective Listening—Only listen to the parts we are interested in and completely blow off the rest.

Insulated listening—rejecting the conversation or building a barrier as a way of avoiding the conversation
These people can change the topic and find ways to re-direct the whole conversation

Defensive Listening—Viewing innocent comments as personal attacks or hostile criticisms. These people often perceive threats in messages because of personal issues
         “You look great! Did you lose weight?”
         “Are you saying you thought I was fat?”

Ambushers—creating a false sense of security for the listener and then attack them
         “No, I won’t get mad if you tell me…”

There are so many things we can miss if we don’t make a conscious effort to be a good listener. It is not only important to be a good listener if you are a psychiatrist or just being a good friend, but it’s important to having effective businesses and building viable relationships. How can you effectively deliver what the customer or what your employees want and need if you are so focused internally? Hearing is so much different than listening!

In my next post, I will talk about how you can become a more valuable listener! 

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