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To improve your listening skills, you must learn what’s keeping you from seeking and hearing the information you need. Below are descriptions of six of the more common archetypes of bad listeners. Anyone individual can demonstrate these archetypes at different times and under different circumstances.
I admit that I’ve demonstrated all six, sometimes on the same day. During your business conversations this week, see if you recognize any of these kinds of bad listeners—or recognize them in yourself—and track the results. If you can use the descriptions below to set up some alarm bells for your own off-putting behavior, you’ve taken the first step in curing what ails you.
Through perseverance, people could get through to him in conversations, painful though that was. However, many of his colleagues simply didn’t have the energy to break down his barriers every time they needed to express an idea to him.
The Preambler’s windy lead-ins and questions are really stealth speeches, often intended to box conversation partners into a corner. Preamblers use questioning to steer the discussion, send warnings, or generate a desired answer.
I remember a meeting with one Preambler, the chairman and CEO of a medical complex, who (by my watch) spent 15 minutes posing slanted questions and making rhetorical assertions that all supported a recommendation he wanted to make to his board. Such behavior epitomizes one-way communication.
Perseverators talk a lot without saying anything. If you pay close attention to one of these poor listeners, you’ll find that their comments and questions don’t advance the conversation. As often as not, Perseverators are editing on the fly and fine-tuning their thoughts through reiteration.
Perseverators use the thoughts of their conversation partners to support their own prejudices, biases, or ideas. When talking to one, you may feel that the two of you are having completely different conversations.
You know you are speaking to Answer Man if your conversation partner can’t stop providing solutions and has ready answers for any flaws you point out, as well as quick rejoinders to all the points you raise.
That gave his conversation partners every indication that he was processing their words and agreeing with them. Yet eventually, his colleagues would realize that he had not acted on anything they’d said or, worse, didn’t have access to that information when it came time to make decisions or take action.
Am I imagining that this is a growing problem, or have I just been picking up the wrong books lately? Has it always been like this? Are we forgetting how to listen? If so, what are the reasons? What do you think?
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He is one of the top 5 in the Agile community to have achieved the dual credential of Professional Coach (PCC) & Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC). A software technologist and an SME in Agile Software Development with 20+ years of experience, Jerry is passionate about building hyper-productive teams which help organizations in their quest for Agility and Digital Transformation in today’s VUCA world.WhatsApp Us