“I don’t want you to fix it, I just want you to listen to me!”

Participants in my listening master classes frequently make this statement as they reveal their annoyances with other peoples’ listening behavior.  The problem is that some people in our life do not understand the type of listening that we need.

There are 5 purposes of communication:

  1. SOCIAL – the small talk of life that is so important in establishing rapport and trust.
  2. INFORMATION – sharing ideas, facts and concepts with others.  The speaker informs; the listener learns.
  3. ENTERTAINMENT – communicating for pleasure by telling stories and jokes or sharing an enjoyable YouTube video, etc.  The speaker entertains; the listener appreciates.
  4. PERSUASION – communicating to influence others to change or take action.  The speaker persuades; the listener changes or acts.
  5. FEELING – venting feelings with others.  The speaker expresses their feelings; the listener empathizes.

What does this have to do with ‘no fixing’?  Too many times the listener does not shift into the FEELING communication mode and instead opts for one of the other types and frequently they are quick to try to persuade.

The results can be costly.  Following are a few statements that people have shared with me about what happens when others quickly to go into ‘fix it mode’:

  • “It’s demeaning!”
  • “They’re telling me I am stupid!”
  • “They want to be the one who is right!”
  • “Who is this about – – you or me?”

PLANT A LISTENING PAYS SEED….by listening for the other person’s communication purpose.  If they are in the FEELING purpose, empathize with them.  They want to be understood and they also want to have their feelings validated.  They DON’T want your FIX.

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