Are you listening?
I have attended a couple of different seminars this week that have focused on listening skills. Not doctor’s appointments to check my “hearing” but seminars that talk about “listening.” They are different.
One of the things mentioned was “response” as a listener. The presentation was by Army Master Sgt. Jennifer Loredo, based on the work of Shelley Gable.
She talked about four responsive types.
- Passive Constructive – listener is distracted, gives an occasional “uh-huh.”
- Passive Destructive – listener ignores speaker, or turns the conversation to them.
- Active Destructive – listener tends to point out all the negative aspects of what the speaker is telling them.
- Active Constructive – listener responds in a positive way, is giving speaker full attention. Ding-ding-ding… we have a winner!
Consider each of these response styles.
When have people responded to you in each of these styles? How did you feel about those responses?
When have YOU responded in each of these styles? Oh, that’s a different question isn’t it? How do you think the people who were speaking felt about your response?
I like to think I am a good listener. I usually maintain good eye contact and offer appropriate grunts and head-nods. The day after hearing MSG Loredo’s presentation, I was at a meeting and pulled my phone out to turn the volume from ring to vibrate. That’s what you do before a meeting, right? The problem is … a friend of mine was talking to me when I did that. ZING! The response presentation immediately went through my mind, as I realized how inconsiderate I had just been to my friend.
It’s amazing that, once you are aware of things, you notice them more. You have now been made aware!
Start paying closer attention to the responses you are giving to people who are talking to you. Consider how they must feel about how you are responding. Are you letting them know you are truly listening to them and that you value what they have to say? It’s something to think about.
*Pam Horton is a Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach in the Raleigh/Durham area.*