Listen Better, Hear More

Communication is a two way street filled with roadblocks. Usually, we blame the communicator for being vague or uninformed, but research has shown that listening skills are just as important as communication skills in getting the point across. Researchers identified nine types of listening styles that serve as roadblocks, thus preventing a speaker's message from getting through.

1. Mind reader - Hears little or nothing because the listener is too busy wondering, "What is this person really thinking, or feeling?"

2. Rehearser - Mental tryouts for "Here's what I'll say next" tunes out the speaker.

3. The filterer - Some call this selective listening. It happens when the listener hears only what he or she wants to hear.

4. Dreamer - Drifting off during a face-to-face conversation can lead to the embarrassing "What did you say?" or, "Could you repeat that?"

5. Identifier - By referring everything to a personal experience, this person doesn't really hear what is said.

6. Comparer - Those who get side tracked into assessing the messenger are sure to miss the message.

7. Derailer - Changing the subject too quickly tells others a listener is not interested in what is being said.

8. Sparrer - Hearing what's said, but quickly discounting it, is just another version of derailing.

9. Placater - Agreeing with everything said just to be nice or to avoid conflict does not make a good listener.

Revised: Saturday, February 23, 2002 08:42 AM