The Perks of Becoming a Power Listener

by Fast Company


power listener

In a post for Fast Company, Bernie Ferrari underlines the importance of being a power listener and outlines how to become one.

“To improve your listening skills, you must first figure out exactly what is keeping you from seeking and hearing the information you need,” he writes.

Ferrari breaks down several kinds of listeners and highlights their tell tale flaws.

The Opinionator

Ferrari says the Opinionator’s problem is his tendency to listen to others really only to determine whether or not his ideas conform to what the Opinionator already knows to be true.

While this type of listener may have good interntions, conversation partners feel intimidated or at least somewhat uncomfortable, and colleagues’ ideas are routinely squelched, he says.

The Grouch

“The Grouch is blocked by the certainty that your ideas are wrong,” he writes. The danger, he says, is what it could cost your company in missed opportunities over time.

(See Startup employee retention: Preventing & Resolving Disputes)

The Preambler

Ferrari says television pundits have become the very embodiment of the poor-listening archetype I call the Preambler.

The Preambler uses windy lead-ins, questions and stealth speeches to steer the conversation, or to send out a warning, or to produce a desired answer, as if the dialogue had been scripted.

(See How to Listen to Your Employees: Business Growth Strategies)

The Pretender

“This guy is a great actor, and he has just put on a great show,” Ferrari writes. “The Pretender isn’t really interested in what you have to say and maybe he’s already made up his mind on the subject.”

Ferrari says even though you may be a good listener at times, if you are honest with yourself you will recognize that many of these archetypes of bad listening apply to you at different times and in different situations.

For more on good listeners, read Ferrari’s full post here.