Listening – Power, Skill, and Style

Your greatest tool of influence is your ears.

Listening increases the value and impact of your words.

“Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you.” Alan Alda

Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you. Image of three giraffes.

4 listener styles:

Dana Dupuis lists four listener styles.

#1. Connective style focuses on what an interaction means for others.

Connective listeners:

  1. Notice how people feel.
  2. Wonder why people are sharing this.
  3. Ask questions for others.

#2. Reflective style focuses on processing information internally, with a strong reliance on the listener’s own judgment rather than the advice of others.

Reflective listeners:

  1. Listen but don’t ask questions. Share conclusions. (They don’t share reasoning.)
  2. Listen quietly. They may seem intimidating.
  3. Seldom ask for advice or opinions. They make up their own mind.

#3. Analytical style focuses on facts, data, and measurable information.

You say things like:

  1. Get to the point.
  2. Just the facts.
  3. I don’t need all the fluff.

#4. Conceptual style focuses on brainstorming and idea generation.

Conceptual listeners:

  1. Love dreaming about the future.
  2. Embrace failure. What can we do differently next time?
  3. Explore options.

4 steps to improve listener skill:

#1. Declare an intention.

Choose one of the four styles as an intention. “I intend to listen to connect,” for example.

#2. Seek feedback.

  1. When you’re talking, how do I let you know I’m paying attention?
  2. What might give you the impression that I’m not listening?

#3. Choose one skill to practice.

  1. Turning toward people and giving eye contact.
  2. Turning away from computers and cell phones.
  3. Pausing before speaking.
  4. Ask, “What else?”
  5. Say, “Could you tell me more about…?”

#4. Repeat.

You employ several listening styles and lean toward one. I lean toward conceptual listening. I never met an idea that I couldn’t do something with.

What’s your preferred style?

What’s one thing you could do to improve your ability to listen?

Added resource:

The Top 10 Super Powers of Listening

Listening is the Overlooked Tool of Leadership

What’s Your Listening Style?