What kind of a listener are you?

By: Matthew McKay, Martha Davis and Patrick Fanning

Author: Canadian Living


What kind of a listener are you?

By: Matthew McKay, Martha Davis and Patrick Fanning

Want to improve your listening skills? Click here to learn how to be a better listener.

If you...try to assess yourself against the person you are talking to, you're comparing.

If more attention to subtle cues and intonations than what the person is actually saying, or you make assumptions about what she thinks of you, you're mind reading.

If you...go over in your mind everything you are about to say next rather than listening intently to what is being said, you're rehearsing.

If you...let your mind wander and only catch the basic emotion of the speaker (angry, confused, etc.), you're filtering.

If you...block out certain things, you're filtering.

If you...don't pay attention because you thought what the speaker said earlier was dumb, you're judgmental.

If you...become agitated when someone disagrees with or criticizes you, or try to prove your opinion, you're in I'm-always-right mode.

If you...tend to drift off midway through the conversation, or if a statement by the speaker suddenly takes you away from the conversation and back to an old memory, you're dreaming.

If you...take everything you hear and refer it back to a personal experience before the speaker can finish, you're identifying.

If you...tend to offer advice on a problem before hearing the whole story, you're advising.

If you...can find something to disagree with in every conversation, or use sarcastic or acerbic remarks to dismiss another's point of view, you're sparring.

If you...quickly change the subject or continually make a joke if a topic is uncomfortable or upsetting to you, you're derailing.

If you...constantly agree with what's being said to come off as nice or supportive, even though you're not really listening, you're placating.

Adapted with permission from The Communication Skills Book (New Harbinger, 2003) second edition, by Matthew McKay, Martha Davis and Patrick Fanning.

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What kind of a listener are you?