What is Your Listening Style?
edited: Thursday, July 07, 2005
By Jo Condrill
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Posted: Friday, July 01, 2005
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Effective communication is the mark of an achiever. How well you articulate your message is only one measure. Your listening style and approach are equally important. Do you know your style?
Experts estimate that people filter out or change the
intended meaning of what they hear in 70 percent of
communications. The biggest contributing factor to
miscommunication is using a listening approach that is not
appropriate for either the environment or for the message
being communicated. Effective listeners consider not only
their own intentions, but also the intentions of the
Because our listening styles reflect our unspoken values and
motivations, we often assume that others will have listening
styles that are similar to our own. When others do not share
our style, the chances of a miscommunication significantly
increase. Even more important, we frequently misinterpret
the real meaning of this miscommunication. Given your
listening style, you may expect others to place as much
value on emotional expression as you do. Consequently, you
may assume that others are attentive to emotional cues and
understand the unspoken feelings that you might be
communicating as a speaker. When others do not acknowledge
such cues, you may interpret their actions as uncaring or
indifferent. You should be aware that those who have a non-
empathic manner of interaction may demonstrate appreciation,
trust, or affection in a more sober fashion than you
Effective communication is much more than learning how to
express your thoughts; it is also learning how to adapt your
listening style in varying situations. You can do this when
you know what your listening style is. Your style is a way
of listening that comes most naturally to you. Your
listening approach is a situational behavior. We get into
trouble when we use a listening approach that is
inappropriate for the situation but in keeping with our
One participant in a Listening seminar shared her
enlightment with the group. After completing the Profile,
she said, she realized that when communicating with her
husband at home she was using the same evaluative listening
style that she used at work. She was critiqueing the events
he told her about rather simply enjoying the conversation in
an appreciative manner. He was sharing events with her and
not asking how he could have acted more effectively. She
stated that there was a marked improvement in their
relationship once she changed her listening approach.
The Personal Listening Profile developed by Inscape
Publishing, Inc. helps individuals determine their preferred
listening style. It also provides a gap analysis that
displays the interaction between different listening
approaches and different message goals and then homes in on
your specific strengths and challenges.
In my own Personal Listening Profile feedback, I was
cautioned that 'Because you are a highly comprehensive
listener, you may assume that others are as focused on the
big picture as you are. Consequently, your speaking and
listening may gravitate toward the abstract or conceptual.
Sometimes your listeners will be searching for concrete
details while you are concerned with communicating the
underlying ideas that give those details meaning.' It went
on to express my 'growth areas,' weaknesses, in Appreciative
and Evaluative listening approaches.
The Personal Listening Profile(R) is a highly reliable
instrument that can be used with confidence. Order and
complete the Profile today. Begin now to fill the
gaps in your communication effectiveness.
Web Site: http://www.goalminds.com/perlistprof.html
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