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The Four Villains of Listening

Which one are you?

The Four Villains of Listening

There are four villains when it comes to poor listening.


The Dramatic Listener

You love creating drama and exploring every element of the discussion. Rather than helping the speaker progress, you get stuck in the detail and dissecting the historical events and patterns that have led you to the discussion. You are so engrossed and engaged in the story that you become completely preoccupied in the theatre of the drama.


The Interrupting Listener

You’re so focused on finding a solution to the problem that you finish the speaker’s sentences for them. You feel they are moving too slowly in describing the issue, so you listen with the intent of solving, rather than their intent of being curious. You interrupt and interject, creating all kinds of confusion. You are busy solving problems the speaker hasn’t yet verbalised.


The Lost Listener

You’re in your own mind rather than in the conversation. You are so absorbed with your self-talk you don’t create enough space for the dialogue to land in your mind, you are so busy thinking about your last thought or your next thought that you can’t focus on the discussion. You are lost before you even turn up.


The Shrewd Listener

You’re too busy trying to solve the issue before listening to the explanation. You might be shrewd enough to wait patiently and not interrupt the speaker, but you are anticipating the future, trying to solve the problem before you’ve heard it or understood it all. You have forgotten to be present and to listen completely.

Any one of the villains can be at play for anyone at any time. Listening is situational and relational, meaning we listen
differently in different contexts and scenarios. For instance, you will listen differently to a customer compared to your peers. You will listen differently to people in the finance department compared to the legal team.


Think about the last conversation you had? Did one or more of the villains show up for you?

The Four Villains of Listening
Discover what’s getting in your way to becoming a deep listener.

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