Archive for August, 2017

How Does Type Influence Our Listening?

Monday, August 14th, 2017

The PEOPLE Process Training Manual & Participant Package

In the last blog update, 16 people were asked the question,  “Who is the best listener in your life?” and 14 of them mentioned an Introvert!  Do Introverts really have a natural advantage over Extraverts when it comes to listening?

According to the type theory, Introverts have two good reasons to listen more than talk.  First of all, they have a lower need to talk because they process their thoughts internally.  They may want to share their completed thoughts with others, but that usually requires less time than thinking through something out loud. 

Second, when Introverts talk, they’re using their Auxiliary function, which is not what they’re best at, so they don’t get the positive response that Extraverts do.  After awhile, they become less confident and more critical of themselves when they speak.  The role of listener becomes a better way for them to garner self-esteem.

Extraverts, on the other hand, have two good reasons to talk more than listen.  First, they need to process their thoughts out loud.  They often do their best thinking when they are talking, so they need to have several good listeners in their lives to allow them to reach clarity and understanding.

Second, Extraverts derive greater self-esteem from talking than Introverts. Because they are Extraverts, they are showing their dominant function to the world, which is what they’re best at, whether it’s practical knowledge, possibilities, logic or caring.  When they finish speaking, they usually get a better response from others, and more of a sense of accomplishment in their speech.  It’s hard to give that up and switch over into listening.

However, just because Introverts tend to do more listening, they don’t necessarily listen well.  Although they may be silent when someone else is speaking, they may actually have a strong internal dialogue going, and may be listening more to themselves than the speaker.

Let’s face it!  It’s an effort for all of us to be good listeners.  Extraverts have to manage their external voice, and Introverts have to manage their internal voice.

In trying to become a good human being though, nothing makes a bigger difference than developing the ability to listen well.  No matter what else we do for other people, if we listen attentively and sympathetically to what they are saying, and let them know that they have been heard and understood, that will mean the most to them.