types of listeners

Different Types of Listeners – Which are You?

Last week’s post was about the must-have superpower of listening, while talking about it on the podcast Yvette and I also mentioned there are different types of listeners. So, today I’m covering different types of listeners. While researching for this topic I came across many websites, which described numerous types of listeners. I’m going to break it down to just four types.

Listener Types 

1. Non-listeners 

The name says it all, they don’t listen to what you are saying. Instead they prefer hearing themselves talk. Sometimes endlessly. Surely you’ve noticed someone turn the conversation so that he or she could talk all the time. Non-listeners have a lot on their minds and they have to let it out. Who knows, they might explode otherwise 😉

2. Minimal listeners 

These listeners are the step before non-listeners. They are quite similar to the non-listener; they are more interested in what they have to say. Instead of paying attention to what you are telling them, they can use your words as a form of introduction for their talk and they don’t mind interrupting you to let you know their thoughts, even if you haven’t finished. Minimal listeners tend to be less patient. They don’t care much for visual communication. They might start rolling their eyes, checking their smart devices or start fidgeting. 

3. Pretend listeners

This listener type listens to your words, but doesn’t hear the feelings you’re conveying with your words. The pretend listeners observe your character, judge what you say and then decide on their response. Depending on how well they pretend, it can be difficult to tell the difference. 

4. Active listeners

This type of listener is what makes listening a superpower. Active listeners pay absolute attention to what you are saying and to what you are communicating nonverbally.  They show their interest by nodding or giving short reassuring responses. They do not interrupt and they ignore everything and everyone else around them. You become the centre of their universe. 

Be honest, which type are you?

Non, minimal, pretend or active listener? 

I hope you’re ready for the truth? We’re probably all these types of listeners at different times and situations, depending on the conversation, the conversation partner, the circumstances and how we feel. As much as we would like to be active listeners all the time, we have to face it, it’s not always possible. Imagine, you receive a call from a friendly call centre wanting to sell you their latest high priced product. That’s probably the situation I turn into the non-listener and interrupt the caller in a friendly way and just say “I’d like to save us both the time, I’m not interested, but thank you anyway.” Do you see what I mean?

Being aware of these different types of listeners and accepting the fact that we all can transform into these types is the first step to changing our behaviour. We have to set our priorities accordingly. It’s our decision what type of listener we want to be. I’ll let you in on a secret. When someone needs me to be an active listener and I can’t be just that, then I’ll ask them, if we could have the conversation at a later time, when I know I can listen actively. The benefit on both sides is significant. There is no shame in admitting you’re not ready and it’s better than turning into a different type of listener.


That just about wraps it up for today

One more thing though, Yvette and I have set up an early interest page for an upcoming programme about perfecting your presentation in English. Check out all the information about it here.

I hope you’ve found this useful and you’ll join me again for more tips and solutions, which have helped my students face their challenges in communicating successfully in English and getting their point across.

Have a wonderful time and take care


PS If you like what I’ve shared with you and you want to share it, then please do! Have you checked out our podcast yet? You can find it on iTunes and Spotify. Sign up, so you don’t miss the next episode.


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