Which kind of listener are you?

I’ve come to notice there’s two kinds of listeners…

  • Those who listen to understand
  • Those who listen to respond

Now, I’m under no elusion that we all lead busy lives and that we couldn’t possibly actively listen to everything (especially if you have kids!) BUT that certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try more.

You’ve all heard the phrase “there’s not enough hours in the day” right? We now try to pack so much into our 24-hour day that now we even try to rush through our conversations.

Ever caught yourself finishing peoples sentences? You might not even know the ending, might even get it wrong. Ever found yourself hurrying someone’s story along? “Yes…yes…okay…yes…”. It’s something I’ve (shamefully) noticed in myself and will definitely be trying to change. You will have probably noticed it in yourself from time to time too, or at least others around you (We tend to notice traits in others first). How can we possibly be TRULY listening? You might even find yourself thinking about what you’ll be doing when the conversation is over.

Have you ever stopped to consider how the quality of your professional service is affected by your ability to listen? Once I realised these habits, I did.

From a recruitment perspective, a lot of work is done over the phone, possibly the easiest communication method to be only partially listening. It’s very easy to get distracted by the things around us. Are you playing with a pen? Filling in a diary? Reading an email? Half listening to an office conversation? AND trying to listen to your customer/client, taking in and understanding all of the information you need…

I think it’s easy to undervalue the impact of being a good listener, and that’s not just at work. It’s much easier to build a relationship, professional or personal when both parties truly feel like they’re being heard.

Personally; in my professional life, I know that if I give both my clients and candidates my undivided attention every time we engage, the whole process is:

  1. More streamlined – No constant backwards and forwards clarificationcalls and emails.
  2. More effective and accurate – I can provide the best service possible
  3. A part of building a solid professional relationship

In my personal life; simply, everyone who plays a part feels more valued.

So I ask you, which kind of listener are you?