Shirley's Articles / Communication Skills and Building Relationships

Good Or Bad – What Sort Of A Listener Are You?

Developing good listening skills is vital. When you truly listen and engage in a conversation, there is the chance to create respect, credibility and trust. Few people listen properly, however. This is usually because most of us seem to have an innate need to prepare a targeted response, so as a result, we tune out temporarily from the conversation as we consider our next sentence. While this may be a natural approach to a difficult conversation, it can also mean the listener misses out on important information.

If you don’t want to take listening for granted, and you are serious about improving this valuable skill, it’s time to start making changes. Today. It might also be useful to consider what type of listener you are. Here are five different types of listeners:

  1. People Listeners
    This listener strives to form rapport with the speaker. They tend to listen out for and respond to emotions, and are known to be empathic. Unfortunately, this type of listener can sometimes come across as intrusive as they push for more information of a personal nature.
  2. Action Listeners
    Action listeners do not respond well when the speaker is less than detailed or has a rambling story to tell. Action listeners want precise, to-the-point information so that they can deal with any issues. Actions listeners are prone to be impatient at times, often failing to establish a relationship with the speaker. They may even talk over them to finish off their sentences in an attempt to get the information they need.
  3. Content Listeners
    This type of listener is more concerned with the information being given than about establishing any type of rapport. They often ask very direct questions and may even come across as intimidating. They do consider all sides of any discussion, but need the speaker to provide evidence to support their claims, otherwise their viewpoint will likely be discarded.
  4. Time Listeners
    Time listeners can seem impatient. They are often governed by tight deadlines and their to-do lists. Their nature indicates they need quick, detailed discussions so they can be organised and efficient. A time listener will often interrupt and consistently give furtive glances towards their watch or clock.
  5. Appreciative Listeners
    The appreciative listener is flexible in their approach but they prefer listening to things that they want to hear. They tune into sound, use their perceptions and their past experiences. Depending on these individual factors, they may have open minds or consider themselves experts in specific areas.

Whatever type of listener you are, making eye contact is essential. This shows attentiveness and interest. It also ensures that the listener must listen. A good listener will allow the speaker to finish their sentence and will avoid interrupting. They will also analyse the comments that have been made before voicing a response. It’s beneficial to repeat the main points of the dialogue once the speaker has finished, and this endorses the fact that the message has been received and understood.

Good luck improving your listening skills.

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Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at

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