Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Speak easy in one minute


According to Lisa Merrick-Lawless, Stylist's therapist and founder of Headspace, within relationships it's useful to understand both of your styles for listening and speaking as well as processing information

To determine what kind of communicator you are, answer the following questions to determine your listening and speaking styles, then ask your partner the same questions and see what response you get.


If someone you knew quite well told you they were thirsty would you:

a) think that’s interesting information

b) go and get them a drink

If you answered a) then you are a ‘literal listener’ and b) then you are an ’inferential listener’. Literal listeners take the things they hear at face value, they don’t read anything into what is said, they just take the words very literally. Inferential listeners will try to work out what they think was meant by what was said, they put their own interpretation on it and often assume it implies some action needs to be taken by them.


If someone you knew well did something pretty badly would you:

a) tell them, its important that they know

b) Ask them how they thought it went and wait for them to tell you

If you answered a) then you are a literal speaker and b) an inferential speaker. A literal speaker will say exactly what they mean, whereas an inferential speaker will weave around a topic hoping you can guess or work out what they think.

The thing to remember in all of this is that there is no right or wrong and no ‘better’ way to be, we are all different. It can be very useful in a relationship to understand which metaprogramme your partner runs in each of these areas to understand them better and stop you getting so frustrated if they have different communication methods to you.

Picture credit: Getty Images



Radiate inner confidence


Get some music therapy


Sharing's the new caring



The easy bake that makes you look like an expert

Low on effort, high on style

by Amy Swales
27 Oct 2016

This badass Bake Off star has shaved off all her hair

And she looks phenomenal

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Oct 2016

This incredible ‘hangover bar’ is what mornings after were made for

Massages, smoothies and trash TV.

by Moya Crockett
27 Oct 2016

Revealed: the most profitable second languages that we need to learn

Time to go back to school...

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Oct 2016

The two little words you should never use when asking for a raise

Don’t blow it.

by Moya Crockett
27 Oct 2016

The one word you should never say to your partner

It can ruin your relationship, experts have revealed

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Oct 2016

Five orgasm myths busted and how to have better sex

Finding the fireworks

by The Stylist web team
26 Oct 2016

Ryanair are having a £2 seat sale to over 170 holiday destinations

But there’s a catch…

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Oct 2016

Quiz: Bake Off fans, which iconic GBBO star are you?

Are you a Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc, Sue Perkins, or Paul Hollywood? Time to find out…

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Oct 2016

Police have shocking reaction to woman being groped on a plane

Police have shocking reaction to woman being groped on a plane

by Sarah Biddlecombe
26 Oct 2016