There are five different kinds of listeners in my book. When having a conversation, listening is the other half. Talking is the easy part. I think listening is the part that matters most. It’s easy to forget that when your having a conversation, listening is also involved. The way people listen will affect the way people talk to them and have conversations with them. Here are the five ways:
Noncommittal listeners: These kinds of listeners are not interested in what’s being said or they’re too distracted to hear it. These types of listeners will often give vague responses and abruptly switch the topic of the conversation. They pretend to listen to you when they are talking. They’re really waiting for you to stop talking.
Selective listeners: These kinds of listeners have their own agendas. They hear what they only want to hear. They hear parts of the conversation that relates to their agenda and nothing more. They tend to interrupt more often especially when a thought is triggered by a word or phrase directly before the other person is done talking. They have the urge to speak well before the other person is done talking.
Selfish listeners: These kinds of listeners find a way to relate the conversation back to their own experiences. They think they are being helpful, but in reality, they are just using another’s person’s concerns as an invitation to talk about themselves. These kind of listeners usually have good intentions, but it really doesn’t help the person talking.
Attentive listeners: These listeners actually care about the person talking. They don’t have an agenda of their own. They are present in the conversation, they don’t offer advice or anecdotes, and they are very content with the speaker.
Active Listeners: These Listeners take part in the conversation. They ask questions, they want the speaker to often elaborate and clarify, they sometimes encourage the speaker to open up more about whatever it is that they are talking about, or they may paraphrase a lot of things to help someone get to the bottom line of a conversation.
I bet when I wrote this, you thought of some people who fit into these categories as you were reading this. I know I did. Initially, I wrote this because I’m writing a script and one of my characters in my story is turning out to be a combination of a noncommittal and a selective listener.