The Inferential Listening Style
In the cartoon above, Lee just made an off the cuff statement that it’s a hot day. It wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, just something he said to himself. And yet, everyone tried to help him. Without being asked to!
Do you know of people like that? They hear someone say he or she is hungry, and they just had to do something to help? Or perhaps you yourself are like that?
Well, this is an NLP Meta Program function (filter) called the Listening Style. This function governs how we listen to others and respond. There are two extremes to this style. You may find yourself on one extreme or the other or somewhere in between. It is like a thermometer, with one end being boiling hot and the other being freezing cold.
For this Listening Style Meta Program, at one end, we have the Inferential style like in today’s comic. This is where when you hear someone say something, you tend to take it like a request and you feel compelled to do something about it.
It may be something said in passing, without actually being a request, but you still feel compelled to do something about it. The more Inferential you are, the more you feel compelled to do something.
The opposite end to this Inferential Listening Style is the Literal Listening Style. We’ll cover this in the next article.
So now that you are aware of this function in our brain’s software, what can you do with this knowledge? Here are some suggestions:
- If you really feel compelled to help someone when you hear something they say, realize it’s your Inferential Listening Style kicking into gear. If you feel compelled to do something, perhaps start by asking them if they need any help. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.
- Respect their wishes if they decline your assistance. If they don’t want any help, but you keep trying to help them, you may end up making them embarrassed, annoyed or just offended. So respect their wishes.
- Understand that it is OK to ignore any compulsion or urges you feel in this context. It is just your Listening Style Meta Program in action. So go ask if help is needed and if the answer is no, thank you, then you can ignore the urge you feel to help. It’s natural. You don’t have to always act on it.
Join us next time for the other half of the Listening Style Meta Program, where we explain the Literal Style! Have a cheerful week ahead! 🙂