You always hear about the importance of listening, but yet it continues to be an ongoing problem. Why is that? Why can’t people just listen? Probably because they don’t even realize they’re not listening.
Before you can perfect the vital skill of listening, you need to realize what type of non-listener you are.
From what I’ve observed, there are three main kinds of non-listeners:
Ramblers (a problem linked to social people)
These are the kinds of people that usually come to mind when the topic of not listening comes up. Ramblers dominate, and sometimes even derail, the conversation. They keep talking over the other party and reiterating their point until the receiver is too tired to continue.
Robots (a problem linked to passive/nonchalant people)
These non-listeners have automatic responses when they hear certain inflections or pauses within the conversation. When the speaker pauses mid-sentence, that’s the robot’s cue to say, “mmm hmmm.” When the speaker sounds like he/she is telling a joke, the robot will laugh during the appropriate pause. They also sprinkle in a couple yeses here and there. Robots usually resort to these tactics because they are bored or multitasking.
Regulators (a problem linked to demanding people)
Regulators already have an agenda in mind when they engage in a conversation. Their only purpose is to confirm their predisposed disposition. Although a regulator may look attentive, he/she is basically hearing crickets until what they want to hear is finally said.
Which category would you fall under? Be very aware of it the next time you engage in a conversation, and consciously avoid doing it. Enter conversations with no prejudgments and ask for feedback frequently throughout the discussion.
And as you learned as a child, don’t talk when the other person is talking (to yourself or aloud). It’s no coincidence that the word listen shares the same letters as silent.
Director of Communications, Strategic Government Resources
good article, I’ve got many who I have to deal with who do exactly this. the 900lb gorilla in the room is… WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THESE NON-LISTENERS? when you solve that one, let me know…
Thank you, Matthew. This post was geared towards non-listeners, so that they can learn how to identify and change it. No outside force can really change a person’s ability to listen.
If you’re a non-listener’s boss, you have the ability to weed them out through termination. If you’re a non-listener’s coworker, you can report the person, if it is hindering work from being done.
From the perspective of a person DEALING with a non-listener, the goal is to point it out to them in hopes that he/she will want to change. Then, take the necessary steps if the person decides not to.