- What exactly will my listeners find surprising? Valuable?

Each style is prone to weaknesses in communication. For example, "trees" people often have trouble telling their listener which of the details are more important and how those details fit into the overall context. They can also fail to tell their listener that they are making a transition from one thought to another -- a problem that quickly shows up in their writing, as well.

The following are eight common barriers to good listening, with suggestions for overcoming each.

Speakers commonly make the mistake of trying to prove how intelligent they are, and to treat the communication as an opportunity to show off their amazing brilliance.


That leads us to a second principle:

The story reveals a lot about what makes a communication compelling for the audience.

The thing I find most difficult is that he constantly blames me for his low mood, is often very grumpy and quite unpleasant to me. It feels as though if there is a negative interpretation to take on what I do and say then he will take it. We rarely socialise as a couple and when we are with family he will often withdraw. Trying to maintain my own equilibrium and essentially positive outlook on life is incredibly hard but it feels like I not only have to manage my own emotional regulation but his as well.


- Which particular experiences have been pivotal in shaping my views?

Speakers have different styles of organizing thoughts when explaining complex situations. Some speakers, "splitters", tend to pay more attention to how things are different. Other speakers, "lumpers", tend to look for how things are alike. Perhaps this is a matter of temperament.

That brings us to the following thought:

A listener who is an over-splitter can inadvertently signal that he disagrees with the speaker over everything, even if he actually agrees with most of what the speaker says and only disagrees with a nuance or point of emphasis.

Portable Thought #5 - Tie it back to bodies

Some speakers may even fail to notice that a closed-ended question is actually a question. They may then disagree with what they thought was a statement of opinion, and that will cause distracting friction or confusion.

The speaker, on the other hand, is thinking:

That can cause "noise" and interfere with the flow of conversation. Likewise, a listener who is an over-lumper can let crucial differences of opinion go unchallenged, which can lead to a serious misunderstanding later. The speaker will mistakenly assume that the listener has understood and agreed.

- "Now I'll give you an example of each type... First, there is..."

It's important to achieve a good balance between splitting (critical thinking) and lumping (metaphorical thinking). Even more important is for the listener to recognize when the speaker is splitting and when she is lumping.

- "The thinking that motivated this choice was that..."

For example, an open-ended question such as "Can you give me a concrete example of that?" is less likely to cause confusion or disagreement than a more closed-ended one such as "Would such-and-such be an example of what you're talking about?"