Ernest Hemingway once said that most people would never listen. According to surveys, 96% of adults consider themselves good listeners. But studies show that we can only remember a quarter of what we hear. Unfortunately, the interviewees often have the impression that even less of what is said arrives.
Good listening is a matter of practice. And it’s worth it. After all, communicative skills are becoming increasingly important in professional life.
Real listening creates an interpersonal bond because every human wants to be heard and understood. It is a basic requirement for open and solution-oriented communication.
The listener is a silent flatterer.Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804)
Four Types Of Listeners By Anthony Alessandra
1- The Way Listener:
it’s difficult for him to turn to other people. He is a rather introverted guy. The problem is that this behavior affects others as rude or repellent. Communication is possible above all at the factual level.
2- Selective Listener:
This type follows the topics and arguments in a conversation rather superficially. When it comes to details or deeper meaning, selective listeners often turn off. Sometimes they are with their thoughts elsewhere. They ask little or no questions and can not or do not want to put themselves in the conversation. Frequently, selective listeners forget most of what has been said.
3- Evaluating Listener:
This guy goes out of his way to listen well, but while the other one is still talking, he already thinks about a powerful answer – because he evaluates what he said immediately. they are usually very good at understanding numbers, facts, and topics of conversation. Those who belong to this group should make an effort to understand what the other one means and try to respect the other’s point of view and to accept it without prejudice. Specifically, this means asking questions, waiting for answers and having an understanding of ideas and opinions that contradict one’s own.
4- Active Listener:
This guy gives full attention to the other person. Active listeners put off their inner monologue, and pay attention to pitch, body language, and choice of words. They ask questions that help them understand their counterparts. Active listeners often retain information and its meaning for a very long time and use this knowledge to keep the communication channels open.
Listener Types in reality:
Incidentally, most people are neither one nor the other type. Rather, one brings along a basic tendency and changes between the types depending on the situation. But if you want to understand the other better, then it is worthwhile to actively listen. But that’s hard. Because most people tend to talk too much about themselves.
Listening is also exhausting, hard work. While energy is released while speaking, listening makes you tired. The more active you listen to the speaker and store information, the more intense the mental workout.
So, if you want to become a better listener, you have to go through a process that is similar to changing your diet or changing your lifestyle.
Luckily, there are shortcuts on the rocky road to becoming a good listener. Some of them are very simple. We would like to reveal seven tips at this point:
7 Tips For Active Listening:
1. Pay attention to the body language of the speaker
Pay attention to the body language of the interlocutor. When listening, our brain needs only about 25% of its capacity and the remaining 75% are free to plan dinner, formulate an answer, or otherwise distract us from listening better. A fun exercise and a form of listening are to focus this attention on the body language of the speaker. Because around 60% of communication is nonverbal.
2. Pay attention to your body language
Paying attention to one’s body language is especially important for less good and impatient listeners. Because our brain only wants one thing: talk! And it will send the appropriate signals to make it clear. Now it’s my turn! Resting on the chair restlessly, clasping arms or legs, clearing your throat. At first, it will be difficult to avoid this behavior. But with a little practice, it is easy to forego this kind of body language.
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3. Avoid distractions
This includes putting the phone down, discarding notes in meetings (in most cases you keep more if you listen attentively), and talking on the phone in a neutral room, or at least an empty desk.
4. Ask questions
Not only to check if you understood everything correctly, but it also makes sense to ask questions. Asking questions also helps a speaker formulate further thoughts as answers. So it pays off to ask questions like “This is very interesting, can you tell me more about it?” or “You mentioned three important goals of your project, are there any other aspects I should know?”.
5. Avoid justification
Even the better listeners among us run the risk of shutting down as soon as their ideas and beliefs are challenged or criticized. If you cross your arms in this situation and formulate justifying answers instead of listening, you miss information, insight and the chance to defuse arising conflicts.
The elegant paraphrasing of a situation lends itself when it comes to solving problems or making plans. Estimate what the interlocutor thinks or feels and briefly summarize what has already been said.
7. Take breaks
Anyone who manages to take a short break before answering each other allows the interlocutor to add something to his statement. Experts advise counting up to four before each answer in the head until the pauses are automatically met.
However, many people wonder if they would be less noticed as active listeners in the end. But this worry is unfounded. Because usually, the opposite is the case. Active listening does not make anyone a social wallflower. It does not mean to follow patiently endless explanations without even having to speak. Rather, active listening helps to improve communication as a whole – and to make your ideas stronger. Good listening is the best way to gain trust and sympathy – and ultimately build stronger relationships with colleagues, the boss or customers.
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