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Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness
Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness

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7 What makes someone a poor listener?

This activity shows an example of some embarrassingly poor listening, the characteristics of which may be familiar. Later, you will see the same scenario re-imagined with far better listening skills evident.

Activity 6 The bad listener

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch this example of a bad listener who is meant to be acting in a supportive career-mentoring role.

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Pay attention to what it is that characterises him as being so poor at this skill. Here are some prompt words that may help you identify aspects of his listening behaviour: self, interpretation, opinion.

Think about your own experiences of not being listened to properly: what goes through your mind?


The male participant refers to his own agenda and gives the impression the conversation is partly about his own ego. He also offers interpretation of what the other person is saying and promptly offers his own opinion in a way that has little regard for person-centred mentoring and the feelings of the other person.

The type of thoughts that you might have experienced could include:

  • frustration
  • a dent to your confidence
  • a decrease in any respect you hold for the other person
  • perhaps a need to re-state any ideas you were expressing.

An alternative approach, as in this video, is to maintain a polite silence.

It would be very interesting to ask the male in this video and his colleagues to complete the self-evaluation questionnaire from Activity 2. The difficulty of people with egocentric characteristics is that they are poor at reading how others perceive them.