This is an off-topic post about listening. Jonathan Burton on Marketwatch has an interesting article (link). It sort of dove-tails with RQ or Risk Intelligence from a few days ago. In the article there are six "bad" types, we have all met the following types, hopefully we are not one of them:
1. The Opinionator is always right and intimidates the speaker.
2. The Grouch makes people feel stupid, shutting off innovative and creative ideas.
3. The Preambler takes forever to get to the point, manipulating the agenda and effectively halting communication.
4. The Perseverator talks without saying anything. According to Ferrari: “You may feel that the two of you are having completely different conversations.”
5. The Answer Man wants to be the smartest guy in the room. He’s looking for a solution before the problem has even been identified.
6. The Pretender appears to hear what you’re saying, but acts as if the discussion never happened.
WikiHow has a decent article on how to be a good listener (link2). Obviously, context and setting will steer a person. A business meeting is a far different from a friendly casual conversation, which is far different from an argument with a loved one. However, in all kinds of settings, bad habits can hurt a situation, and good habits can help. Passive aggressive behavior, pettiness, put downs, insults, temper can all turn a discussion into a heated argument.
In business settings, acting in a professional manner is always a sound choice. For friends and family, empathy is often best. Respect is always appreciated. I am not suggesting that a person be a door mat. There is a line there.
In business groups, sometimes the tool from the book, The Six Thinking Hats, is used to get people to be more open to new ideas (link3).