Revitalise Your Listening Abilities
You may think that focussing your attention is all you need to do to hear more, and to improve your listening abilities. But hearing and listening are two very different things, and listening carefully is a very active process. Take our test to discover your listening style.
Take the Listening Style Inventory test!
The results are in...
The active listener gives their full attention to listening when others are speaking, and focuses on what is being said. Active listeners spend a lot of energy engaging in the conversation. They usually display alert body language and maintain frequent eye contact.
The involved listener gives most of their attention to what is being said. Involved listeners reflect on the message and are keen to participate in conversations. They make frequent eye contact and will seem alert throughout a conversation.
The passive listener receives information as though being talked to rather than joining in with conversations. Passive listeners are moderately attentive, and make some effort to correctly interpret what is being said, however they place responsibility on the speaker to communicate their message effectively.
Detached listeners often withdraw from conversations and are reluctant to engage. They are often disinterested, restless and easily distracted. A detached listener’s body language is likely to be slumped and lack alertness, and they will avoid eye contact during the conversation.
- I like listening to what others have to say.
- I am easily distracted when listening to people.
- When listening I often pre-empt the speaker's point before they have finished explaining.
- I make an effort to stop what I’m doing and focus on listening when someone speaks to me.
- I consciously control my opinions when listening to others so that I don’t misinterpret what they are saying.
- If I discover I have misunderstood someone, I make an effort to avoid the same mistake in the future.
- I allow people to finish what they are saying before drawing my own conclusions about what they have said.
- I can tell when a speaker's personal opinions are affecting what they are saying.
- I ask questions when I don't fully understand a speaker's message.
- I notice when there is a difference between my understanding of a concept or word and the speaker’s understanding.
Whatever your style is, the average person’s listening efficiency is only 25%, as the remaining words quickly leave the short term memory. Most people forget what they have just heard. But the good news is that you can become an active listener by trying a few simple techniques.
Now that you know what your style is, you can improve the time that you spend listening. An experiment in the 1970s found that patients found talking to robots more rewarding than when they spoke to doctors. The reason was that patients felt that the robots had all the time in the world.