Analytical Listeners

Analytical listeners can be the best at suspending judgment, because to suspend, one has to avoid the temptation of always being certain. It takes a special kind of discipline to corral the thought that one can “fix” everything.  Analytical listeners have the discipline to listen, and similar to the critical listener they break down what needs to be done systematically.  The difference is they want to get things started right away.  Get the problems solved, the mission accomplished or the issues cleared, all in a timely manner!  Because they are often time-oriented, this type of listener uses strategies to “rein in” those who wander away into free-ranging conversations and discussions. Their non-verbal cues signal their impatience with wordiness; they glance at the clock, sigh or let the other speaker “see” the impatience written all over their facial expressions.

Analytical listeners have to struggle to resist their impulses to control not only time, but other time-killing factors, therefore creativity can be limited because they put pressure on those who indulge too much in it. Creativity, free-thinking and those that want to “leave the reservation” metaphorically speaking simply exhaust the analytical listeners among us. These time-consuming factors affect their ability to focus. This is very helpful when other speakers tend to drone on and on, oblivious to the time they waste or the frustration they produce in those who have to listen to them.  A slow delivery or a lengthy explanation exasperates the analytical listener, but consider this: what might get sacrificed when feelings get ignored or people are rushed?

Worrying about time and other time-consuming details too much while another is speaking, can cause us to lose sight of what David Bohm refers to as the “order between” two extremes.  What richness might be found between the “this and that” in a conversation?  Our western culture thrills to a good debate, and we preach punctuality as a virtue. However, when we are anxious to keep things moving, are we really hearing everything?  We might be ignoring the opportunity to search for the middle ground.  We may miss the subtle nuances that allow us to see themes, patterns and links that are beneath the surface of what is being said.

The takeaway on this type of listening style is

  • They are efficient managers of time, setting the pace for meetings and conversations
  • They can suspend judgment as they analyze a conversation
  • They resist the impulse to think out the box too much because they are more prone to efficiency
  • They will get to the bottom line quickly

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