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 How To Talk Less and Learn From Others

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How To Talk Less and Listen More

People are distracted by technology

Our ability to consume and process information is at the highest it’s ever been in history.  However, this trend has also shortened our attention spans, allowing us to consume information while multi-tasking. Great for listening to a podcast and folding the laundry, bad when you are trying to develop a relationship. Join a meeting or observe a conversation and see how many people are truly listening when interpersonal communication is going on. 

7 Types of Listeners and How to Learn from Them

Dale Carnegie has identified 7 types of listeners.  It’s important to understand what type of listener you are and what type of listener the other person might be.  Learn the types of listeners and how to deal with them.  Remember, these are generalizations, there are other factors that might influence someone’s listening skills, like culture or background.

  • “Pre-Occupieds” – These listeners have trouble focusing, they might be looking around, checking their phone, or otherwise multi-tasking.
  • If you are preoccupied, make a point to set aside what you are doing when someone is speaking to you.
  • If you are dealing with a preoccupied, you might ask, “Is this a good time?” or “May I have your undivided attention for just a moment?”.  Begin with a statement that will get their attention.  Be brief and get to the bottom line quickly.
  • The “Out-to-Luncher” – These people might be physically in the room with you, but their head is in another place.
  • If you tend to daydream or struggle to be present, do your best to act like a good listener.  Be alert, maintain eye contact, lean forward, and ask questions to show interest.  Before you know it, you’ll be an active good listener!
  • If you a dealing with an “out-to-luncher”, check in with them every now and again.  Ask if they understood what you were saying.  Be concise and to the point.
  • The “Interrupters” – These people want to chime in at all opportunities.  They are ready to pounce at any pause, they are not listening, they are just waiting to talk.
  • If you are an interrupter, make a point to apologize each time you find yourself interrupting.  This will make you more conscious of it.  Try pausing and letting others weigh in before making your point or asking a question.
  • If you are dealing with interrupters, when they chime in, stop immediately and let them talk.  When they are done, you might ask to hold questions until the end, or just resume exactly where you left off.

Access all 30 Dale Carnegie principles in a convenient PDF guide, Dale Carnegie’s Secrets of Success.

Talk Less and Learn From Others
  • The “Whatevers” – These individuals remain aloof and show little emotion when listening.  They give off the impression that they could not care less what you are talking about.
  • If you are a “whatever”, concentrate on the full message, not just the verbal message.  Make a point to listen with your entire body – eyes, ears, head, and heart.
  • If you are dealing with a “whatever”, dramatize your ideas and ask questions to encourage involvement and interaction.
  • The “Combatives” – These individuals are armed and ready for war.  They enjoy disagreeing and blaming others.
  • If you are a “combative” listener, try to put yourself in the speaker’s shoes and understand, accept, and find merit in their point of view.
  • To deal with these types of listeners when they disagree or point blame, look forward instead of back.  Talk about how you might agree to disagree or what can be done differently next time.  Address them, but move on so you can complete your idea or concept.
  • The “Analysts” - These people are constantly in the role of the of the counselor or senior advisor, ready to provide advice and answers whether you’ve asked for them or not.  They usually think they are great listeners and love to help.  Expect them to try to fix things that are not broken.
  • If you are an “Analyst”, relax and understand that not everyone is looking for an answer or solution from you.  Some people just like bouncing ideas off others to help them see the answers more clearly themselves.
  • If you are dealing with an “Analyst”, you might begin by saying, “I just need to run something by you for feedback”.  By narrowing the focus of the analysis you might be able to channel their energy into highly productive feedback.
  • The “Engagers” – These are the consciously aware listeners.  They actively listen with empathy and operate at the highest level.  Their listening skills encourage you to continue talking and give you the opportunity to discover your own solutions and let your ideas unfold.

Watch 'How to Be a Better Listener' in Action

How I felt when my manager praised my work - Chris Caughell

How I felt when my manager praised my work - Chris Caughell

How I felt when my manager praised my work - Chris Caughell