Thursday, March 03, 2005

Reader or Listener?

Are you a reader or a listener? Peter F. Drucker brings up this interesting discussion in his book, Management Challenges for the 21st Century. We all know about right-handed and left-handed people. Right-handed people tend to do things better with their right hands and can feel awkward working with their left hands. The same can be said of left-handed people.

Similarly, people are either readers or listeners. There are some who can understand and react better if they read something and there are others who can perform better by listening. And if you ask a ‘reader’ to listen or a ‘listener’ to read, then you are looking for trouble. Recognizing someone as either a ‘reader’ or ‘listener’ can help you get the best out of the person. So, if your boss is a reader you are better off communicating via email or if your co-worker is a listener, walking up to their desk and talking may get you the desired results.

These characteristics can be observed in students too. Schools are more oriented towards listeners as it is easy for one teacher to talk to a group of students in a classroom. You’ll only see mediocre performance by students who are readers, while listeners might excel.

So, how do you identify someone as a reader or listener? How about starting with the relation between you and that person? Do you find it difficult to communicate, are there differences or you just can’t understand each other? If yes, maybe you are writing to a listener or talking to reader. So if you feel that you’ve been talking in vain, maybe it’s time to write. At the same time you should convey your preferred means of communication too.

Communicating in someone’s preferred way would do a lot in building relations. Whether its employer-employee, husband-wife, parent-child or teacher-student, all relations will turn for the better.

That makes me think, ‘Am I writing for a listener?