We are in a season of listening. This time of preparation is full of reflection. Oftentimes our spiritual exercises have been triggered by what someone has said in the past or by something that is read in the present or by what we imagine the future holds. We know about several listening styles. Understanding the message being sent is a goal that is not always achieved. There are several reasons why clarity does not happen. It has been reported that 70% of what people hear has been filtered and changed. Effective communication includes flexibility and awareness in the listener.
Click hereFor example, when people are listening to find out what is true, their experiences define what is accurate. When the listener has limited experiences, they might miss the truth. If someone is listening to be entertained and to feel good, they are often relaxed and open. An integrative listener, someone who connects what is heard to another experience and continues this process, can end up in a place far away from the initial subject. The listener hears the state of Colorado mentioned in a story about marijuana and connects this to a trip he took to Colorado, remembering how beautiful the mountains were, and the cool stream which chilled the a bottle of wine in twenty minutes and ends up thinking about Colorado wines instead of the drug concerns in the state.
A challenge which contributes to missed communication is a listening approach which is not a good fit for the environment or the message being shared. I believe that there is no such thing as a bad listener, but there are people with inflexible listening habits. Research has shown us that people have preferred ways of listening. If an individual is listening in a style that is comfortable for them, but does not allow the message to be heard with clarity, there can be a gap. Five listening approaches will be identified in this article. Two are feeling oriented and three are fact oriented. Appreciative listening and Empathic listening are feeling based.
Comprehensive, Discerning, and Evaluative listening are factually based. Each listening style focuses on an experience or gaining certain information for a specific reason. When the correct listening style is used to interpret the information presented, an appropriate response can be shared. Appreciative listeners want to enjoy the experience. They are motivated when entertained, inspired, engaged with humor, and are made to feel good about themselves.
They care more about the presentation than the details being presented. Empathic listeners want to provide the speaker with a safe space to share in order to offer support and reflection. They are motivated when people express thoughts and feelings, when they can hear and be non-judgmental, and when they learn from listening. They care about what has been said and the emotion behind the words. Comprehensive listeners want to organize and make sense of information. They are motivated by understanding how the information is connected, clearly digesting the rationale for the to edit.
argument, and identifying both the main idea and the supporting ideas. They care about the logical presentation of information. Discerning listeners want to know what the main message is. Typically, the speaker’s behavior, voice, and appearance are memorized. They are motivated to identify details, lift up what is important, and miss nothing.
They care about having complete information. Evaluative listeners want to know how the message is organized in order to critique it. If they don’t like what is being said they stop listening. They are motivated to question motives, look for the facts, consider their personal beliefs, and accept or reject the argument.
As we interact with family, friends, institutions, and ourselves, I trust this small piece of information about listening adapted from an Inscape personal listening profile, helps you use the anointed gifts God has blessed you with, to produce divine fruit ready to be digested at a sacred feast.
- Vicar Dale Linder