Company Blog

Do You Hear What I Hear?

by Adam Zack — March 14, 2018

Picture of Adam Zack

What’s the response of a good listener?

Listening is my aspiration in life. Not just listening, but good listening. The kind where who I am talking to says “Wow, you’re a really good listener.” That happened to me once, and it was from the lifetime grocery consultant Harold Lloyd. It was a compliment that still makes me feel great a year later. So, as I aspire and listen daily, I started categorizing (not judging) the types of first responders I have been and that we all have been or interact with daily.


1. I KNOW! – The common response to most every statement or comment is countered with “I know!…”, which makes you wonder why you say anything at all since they already know everything.

2. I KNOW, BUT… – A close cousin to “I know”, “I know, but …” not only already knows everything, they also need to throw in a big “but” which lets you know that you really don’t know what you’re talking about.

3. THE REPEATER – Repeats everything you just said. “The Super Bowl was a really great game!” Response – “The Super Bowl really was a great game!” Kind of like a human echo chamber.

4. THE SILENT TYPE – The listener says nothing, or pauses long enough before responding that it seems a little uncomfortable. The person who initiates the interaction thinks “Did I just say something wrong?” It’s actually a trait of a good listener, but just seems weird.

5. THE FINISHER – Before you’re done with your statement, especially if you hesitate a bit, the finisher jumps in and completes your sentence for you. Thanks for saving me words, but I don’t have limited number I can use daily.

6. YAYA – Just a millisecond before you’re done with your statement, the responder starts with an agreement “Yeah, yeah, yeah….” Seems like an agreeable response, but if only they’d listen until you were done.

7. NONO – Like it’s cousin Yaya, just a millisecond before you’re done with your sentence NoNo says “No, no…” and goes on to negate what you just said.

8. WELL – The distant cousin to NoNo and YaYa. Statements are met with “Well…” followed by a slightly contradictory statement or explanation to what you just said. Also known as “Well, but…”

9. REALLY? – Yes, really. Do you think I am a liar when after everything I say you say “Really?…”

10. WOW! – The “You really impress me!” response.

11. HMM – The response after your sentence could be a thoughtful “Hmmmm”, a skeptical “Hmmmmm” or a ‘That is freakin’ crazy!’ “Hmmmm”. More than the other responses, the tone of this one matters most.

12. THE RELATOR – Everything I say, you have had a similar experience. It turns the conversation from something I wanted to tell you to something about you.

13. THE ONE-UPSMAN – Like the relator, but better than you.

So, what is the right answer? What’s the response of a good listener? I don’t think there’s a set answer, only a set question: Can you tell me what I just said and did you let me finish.

Read More – Set-in-stone thinking

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