Your listening style will determine the depth of your interpersonal communication. Try to determine your primary listening style(s) by the following, brief descriptions.
Helper says “Don’t worry, I’ll do it for you.” Helpers are compelled to fix others’ problems.
Mover says, “I’ve got too much to do, I have to go.” instead of talking with people, movers are likely to come into or go out of a room, giving instructions as they go.
Teacher says, “I know what you need to do. You need to do it this way.” To the teacher, every conversation is a lesson to be taught.
Competitive/Combative says, “How can I win in this conversation?” This style looks for a place where they can interrupt to make their point.
Passive/Attentive says, “I’m all ears and nothing more.” This style will listen for hours, but not offer anything else to the conversation.
Active/Reflective says, “If I listen to you, then you’ll listen to me.” With this style, both parties learn.
(First published 10.27.07)