The single biggest mistake with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
— George Bernard Shaw, Author

Let's delve into one key strategy that is going to add more power and impact to how you communicate. Namely, the 4 main listening bias and how you can tailor any communication to appeal on an individual level, targeting how each member of your audience is processing and retaining the information you communicate!

Communication is something we all do every day, and whilst communication is easy to do, communicating with power and impact is a skill. Like any skill, how you communicate needs mastered, cultivated, and given the opportunity and space to grow like any other skill.

That aside, do you stop to think about how an individual is listening to your communication and what they are doing with the information that you give them? Well, that is where understanding the 4 main listening biases of your audience comes in.

Understand Listening bias’s

Our listening bias forms the core of how we listen and retain information. While we all use a mixture of biases, you are most likely to have a specific bias that is your default. That is why it's important to understand all four biases’ and apply them to how you communicate.


If you want people to hear what you have to say, you would be best to communicate how they hear.

Early Bias

The most common bias, yet the most mistreated bias. The likelihood is that a good amount of people you communicate with fall within this bracket. The modern-day communicator will almost always summarise his communication where? At the end of a talk, right? Here is the problem, if you give an individual with early bias a list of 20 words to remember off by heart, they are most likely to only remember the first 3-6 words and completely forget the rest.


This means that when you start any form of communication plan your introduction, think about what you want your audience to take away, and place a good chunk of that information at the very start. This way you are appealing the minds of those who fall into the early bias side of the audience.

Recency Bias

Recency bias is the exact opposite of early bias, yet far less common. Unlike the early bias, recency bias individuals will most likely remember the most recent piece of information you communicated to them. We generally appease these individuals most with our communication by placing the summary of a conversation at the end of the communication, aiding these individuals in remembering the crux of the communication.


Ensure that you summarise clearly what your communication is supposed to get across. You are better off leaving your biggest point to the very end of the summary as these individuals are biased to the most recent piece of information.

Repetitive Bias

These individuals are most likely to pick up on a point when it is repeated and reinforced. Especially when giving a lengthy or complicated speech, weaving in your core message multiple times increases the chances of message retention.


Find interesting and relevant ways to repeat and reinforce your key points, it will never be enough to simply make a point and move on. Repeat and reinforce key points at least 3 times each throughout any communication.

Outstanding Bias

Outstanding bias occurs when people tend to remember information that stands out more so than typical content. These individuals are more inclined to retain standout information about a key point. Ensure each key message in your communication caters to this mind, offering them ways to retain and recall your key message.


Leverage this tendency by sharing an interesting story that ties in closely with the central message. The key here is to ensure that your message has a relevant and interesting point related to the communication.


So there you have it, the 4 main listening bias, and how you can tailor any communication to appeal to the individual way each member of your audience is processing and retaining your communication! 

  1. Early
  2. Recency
  3. Repetitive
  4. Outstanding

Master these four biases and weave them throughout your communication to add more power and impact to how you communicate.