People, Emotion, and Heart

Let’s suppose you’re trying to learn how to play the guitar. You’re right-handed, but you’ve accidentally gone and bought a guitar for left-handers. This is not a recipe for success. That’s how we can think about the different types of listening styles that exist. We must match our style with that of other people if we are to have any hope for success. Though it can be said there are countless listening styles, it’s helpful to think in terms of four main styles: people (emotion), content (information), action (to-do list), and time (duration and frequency) orientations. For our purposes, we want to recognize which is our natural tendency, and then try to skew more toward the people/emotion style. This is because when people communicate outside of giving an order or organizing an outing, they are doing so to express an emotion. Go find it! Another way to delineate listening styles is to think in terms of head, heart, and hands. Head is all about thinking and planning, hands is all about doing and action, and the heart, well, that’s all about emotion and people’s well-being. Again, recognize where you are, and how to move toward people/emotion/heart styles of listening.

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