Even when it comes to listening, style matters.  Are you a people-oriented, action-oriented, time-oriented, and content-oriented listener?

Are you most interested in the quality of the messages heard?  Do you give more weight to the messages of experts and credible sources?  Do you seek details?  Are you skilled at analyzing an issue from several perspectives?  Do you simply enjoy ideas for their own sake and explore them in thorough exchanges?  If so, you may be a content-oriented listener.

There are many benefits to having content-oriented listeners on your team:  When the goal is to evaluate the quality of ideas and when there is value in looking at issues from a wide range of perspectives.  When the topic is a complicated one.

However, if you are always listening as a content-oriented listener, there can be a few drawbacks:  It risks annoying people who do not have the same sort of analytical orientation.  It can take more time than others may be willing to give.  Finally, the challenging of ideas that comes with it can be perceived as overly critical or even hostile.

So, if analysis is called for, put on your content-oriented persona.

Keep in mind, you can boost your effectiveness by assessing the listening preferences of your conversational partners and adapting your style to them.

So, are you a content-oriented listener?  Hopefully at work, we all are listening to the content, so we make good decisions.

Whichever style you use, it is important to recognize that you can control the way you listen and to use the style that best suits the situation at hand.

If your organization is suffering with miscommunication, contact me at kit@welchlin.com and I will provide a fun, engaging, and informative presentation on effective listening skills.