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Are Introverts Good Listeners? I think this may be too much of a generalization; after all, not all introverts are alike. Everyone wants to be heard and understood.  We matter.  Our voice matters. However, while we as introverts want to be good listeners, in general, we want the conversation to go both ways.  We don’t want to be perceived as a good listener just because the other person is doing all of the talking and not pausing to listen themselves.  Introverted traits can help us to be good listeners, but can also hinder us if we are not careful.  In this podcast, I’ve outlined a few strategies to improve your listening abilities, as well as your abilities to be heard.

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Podcast Transcript

Are Introverts Good Listeners?

Hello, and welcome to the Quiet and Strong Podcast, Especially for introverts.  I am your host, David Hall and creator of quietandstrong.com.  This is a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced. Normally we will air each episode on Mondays.  Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. 

I hear some assert that introverts make great listeners.  I think this may be too much of a generalization; after all, not all introverts are alike.

Everyone wants to be heard and understood.  We matter.  Our voice matters.

However, while I want to be a good listener, I also want the conversation to go both ways.  I don’t want to be perceived as a good listener just because the other person is doing all of the talking and not pausing to listen themselves.  I don’t enjoy these types of conversations at all.  It can be very frustrating when the other person is not listening and is talking non-stop.  A huge difference between introverts and extroverts is introverts think to speak, extroverts speak to think.  You will hear me say this often.  So if I am in a conversation with someone and they are talking non-stop and not pausing to let me speak, they may perceive that I am a good listener, and maybe I am, but maybe I’m not, depending on the situation.  Just because a person is silent in conversation doesn’t mean they are listening.  What is the purpose of the conversation?  Most conversations I expect to go both ways.  Two people are engaging to get to know each other, enjoy each others company, or work on a project together.  In these cases there should be some back and forth taking turns as the speaker and the listener, with the listener paying attention to the other person.  There may be times when someone may be going through something where they really need to talk things through and may need to do more of the talking.  Sometimes they may be looking for advice and sometimes they may just need to be heard or vent some frustrations.  My wife and I are both natural problem solvers and are ready to help solve each others problems.  Sometimes that is wanted, but when it is not we let each other know, I just need to talk this out and am not looking for a solution.  

I’m also not saying extroverts aren’t good listeners.  Either extroverts or introverts need to be aware of the purpose of the conversation and be interested in the other person. If an introvert is in a conversation expecting back and forth, but is only playing the role of the listener, then their voice is not being heard.

I think that I am a good listener most of the time.  I want to get to know people better and build lasting relationships and understand the other person’s needs.  I also want to get the relevant facts to come up with great solutions and innovative ideas.  I want to continue to learn more about everything. I want to accomplish some amazing work with others – Often the best ideas are a combination of others ideas

So for me, my introverted traits can help me to be a good listener, but could hinder me if I am not careful.  I try to do a few things to be a good listener.  Some I am better at than others.

I need to be fully present and Limit Distractions.

As an introvert, it is easy for my mind to wander and so I need to make sure I am in the moment with the person and not somewhere else. Also part of this is not checking my phone, emails, etc. Put down the phone.  We can only think of one thing at a time, so we will miss a lot if we are switching between talking with a co-worker or our kids and looking at our social media. Be present.

 You may also want to close the door or take the conversation where there won’t be constant interruptions.

Concentrate on the other person and keep eye contact

I need to remember that I am listening and not making the conversation about me.  I am hearing what the person is saying and not only thinking about what I will say next.  Sometimes I have a bad habit of matching the person’s story with one of my own.  Often this takes away from what they are trying to tell me.  It also helps me to focus on the person when I maintain eye contact.  Not a stare, but looking at the person regularly.

Try not to interrupt

This is a hard one for me.  I am always thinking and as someone is talking about something I have given much thought to, I naturally want to share my ideas.  I have to be careful to let the other person feel heard and let them fully express their thoughts before jumping in.

Ask Questions and Clarify

I am very good at asking questions.  I see connections between people and things and want more information.  I do need to be careful to not come off as an interrogator and often let the person know that I do have a few questions for them.  Also, in all my questioning I need to make sure this includes some clarifying questions so that I do understand the other person’s point of view.

All of these concepts apply to group conversations and meetings too.  Be present and pay attention.  I know when I am working from home and in a virtual meeting it is so tempting to try do a little multitasking and tackle that stack of emails.  Again you can only think of one thing at a time, so if you are trying to do a couple of things at once, you will miss out on some of the meeting and may miss out on sharing some needed information.  Virtual meetings can be harder as normally in person you are in a private room with only guests attending.  At home, family members may be walking by and asking you questions while you are trying to focus.  For those of you working from home, what solutions have you come up with?  Are you able to go into a quiet space?  Does headphones help?

So are introverts good listeners?  My answer is they can be.  Some are better than others and probably all can improve.  I do want to be a good listener, but again, not just perceived as one if the other person is talking non-stop.  I want to understand others and be understood, too. What is the purpose of the conversation, are you accomplishing the purpose?  We can get better knowing what we need and what the other person we are speaking with needs.

Thank you so much for joining me.  I look forward to further connecting with you.  Reach out quietandstrong.com, david@.  I will add social media channels to the show notes. Please comment on the social media posts related to this podcast.  Send me topics or questions and we can address those on the show. So many great things about being an introvert and so we need those to be understood.  Let’s keep the conversation going.  Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be Strong!

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