Knowledge of types of listening: the key to understanding and being understood

Listening, the most neglected part of communication, is divided into several categories, knowledge of which will help you choose the best type of listening to be an effective communicator. This knowledge distinguishes effective listeners from ineffective ones, as well as making one an effective listener.

The degree of attention, the considered perspective and the objective of the listening determine the type of listening that is carried out. The various types of listening can be classified into two main types: positive and negative. Positive listening benefits the listener, the speaker and society in general. Positive types of listening include sensitive listening, active listening, evaluative listening, relational listening, and appreciative listening. Negative listening is faulty and therefore does not serve the purpose of one or more of the parties to the communication.

The following exposition offers several types of listening.

passive listening

In passive listening, none of the speaker’s words enter the listener’s mind. The speaker’s words do not activate the listener’s thought process. But the listeners are physically present although mentally absent. The listener may have decided to ignore the speaker due to a preconceived notion or dull presentation by the listener. The responsibility for this type of negative listening falls on the speaker, who may not have aroused the interest of the listeners.

fringe listening

Marginal listening, also known as selective listening, is slightly better than passive listening in that information from the speaker is heard in bits and pieces rather than in its entirety. The listener occasionally raises his head to take in some information, probably because he finds it pleasing or in accordance with his existing views. But, the listener may be missing the important part of the speaker’s message. This can also be classified as a type of negative listening, as the important part of the message is ignored and the benefit is lost.

projective listening

In this type of listening, the listener takes in and absorbs information according to the listener’s own point of view or perspective that dominates the speaker’s perspective, even if the speaker’s point of view merges with that of the listener. In other words, a broader view of the speaker is ignored or given a less prominent place and a limited view of the listener is retained. This is also classified as a negative type of listening. It is similar to a person with jaundice who looks at the world and believes that the environment is green. The vision is far from certain.

empathic listening

Empathic listening, which is also known as ‘sensitive listening’, is the opposite of projective listening in that only the speaker’s opinion is efficiently taken in, while the listener’s is either completely ignored or given. less importance. If a proper balance is struck between two points of view, it could be classified as positive. Due to the predominance of the speaker’s vision only, it should be referred to as negative listening and therefore should be improved. Being too empathetic to others can leave the larger perspective to the wind or lead to the listener being exploited. But there are some features of this type of listening. They include building trust, facilitating the release of emotions, reducing tensions, creating a positive climate for negotiations, etc. ( Listeners must attend, support and empathize with the speaker.

Since empathic listening builds relationships, it can also be called ‘relationship listening’.

Teacher. Asha Kaul is of the opinion that empathic listening together with active listening would prove to be the ideal listening in which the objectives of the message are best met. (Kaul Asha, Business Communication, Prentice Hall of India, New Delhi, 2004, p.41.)


Practice this for best results.

Dick Connor, Jeffery P. Davidson’s mentor, had a good habit. When the latter used to meet with the former to discuss new items and key ideas, which used to happen at the dining room table, the former used to record the discussions.

Dick Connor first gave Jeffrey the recorded cassette, which was recorded by Dick Connor when the discussion of the new article and key ideas took place. Dick Connor used to record important meeting discussions. Jeffrey, when he first started listening to the cassette tape, was surprised to get a lot of valuable insights from listening to the tapes that he didn’t get during the live discussions, no matter how attentive he was and no matter how diligently he took notes of the discussions.

In fact, the insights you gained while listening to the tape were better than those you observed and took notes on during the actual discussions. Jeffery felt that note taking should be done after listening to the tapes and not during the discussions.

Davidson P. Jeffrey, How to Get Noticed and Get Ahead in Business, Jaico Books, Bombay, 1995, pp-81-82

Active listening

Active listening can also be called “attentive listening” or “deliberate listening.”

Active listening takes place when the listener is active, which stems from the active participation of the listener. The listener displays a forward-leaning body posture, seeks clarification, and gives feedback. Active listening is highly involved listening.

Ideal listening occurs when active listening is combined with empathic listening in which the opinions of both the listener and the speaker are melded with due balance.

The responsibility for active listening to happen rests solely with the speaker, who must be able to generate interest in the topic through a proper introduction, etc.

Attentive listening requires attention skills, tracking skills, and reflection skills. (Raman, Meenakshi and Singh, Prakash, Business Communication, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2006, pp.99-100.) Mindfulness skills include engaging posture, proper body movement, proper eye contact, and a distraction-free environment. . The following skills include an appropriate show of interest, an appropriate invitation to the speaker, moderate nodes of encouragement, infrequent questions, and attentive silence. Reflective skills include paraphrasing, restating the speaker’s emotions, restating the speaker’s intended meaning, and summarizing ideas at intervals.

evaluative listening

In evaluative listening, the listener evaluates the value of the message or compares it to what is normally considered best. You can do this simultaneously while listening or by stopping for a moment. Since the evaluation takes place in this type of listening, the listener can decide to continue listening or to stop listening. Alternatively, you can devote yourself to framing the waste statement. Therefore, evaluative listening can lead to a positive or negative outcome depending on the open mind and intellect of the listener.

fake listening

The listener pretends to be listening while not really listening. Also known as pseudo listening. Use body posture and eye fixation on the speaker to show that you are listening. The goal of such listening is to please the speaker or other observers. This is similar to passive listening, except that there is no dishonesty on the part of the listener in passive listening, while false listening is born out of dishonesty. This is the most undesirable type of negative listening.

Informative Listening

Informative listening takes in a lot of information with full concentration and thus helps to understand the message being conveyed. Due to the intensity of the effort in taking most of the information, the message is understood almost as intended. This is the best way to learn and an ideal way to listen. While absorbing what is given by the masters or while receiving instructions from the superiors or when the subordinate is explaining the problem he is facing, the listener engages in informative listening. Informative listening requires a lot of attention.

Informative listening is the first stage of positive listening from which other types of listening originate such as attentive listening, evaluative listening, empathic listening, etc.

Informative listening requires good vocabulary, concentration and memory to be effective in achieving its purpose (Raman, Meenakshi and Singh, Prakash, Business Communication, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2006, p.98.).

appreciative listening

The main purpose of appreciative listening is to appreciate and therefore enjoy the way the message is delivered, but not to take advantage of the content or meaning of the message. Appreciative listening often takes place while listening to music or enjoying the speaker’s style or other characteristics unrelated to the content.

The best benefit of appreciative listening is obtained depending on three conditions: presentation, perception and previous experience. (Raman, Meenakshi and Singh, Prakash, Business Communication, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2006, p.101.). Presentation factors include the style, medium, setting, and personality of the speaker. Second, the listener’s perception, which again depends on his attitude and expectations, determines how the presentation is appreciated. Ultimately, the listener’s previous experience and familiarity with the speaker determines whether or not he will enjoy the presentation. Existing positive opinion or familiarity with certain insignificant drawbacks inherent in the presentation can help to appreciate the presentation.

critical listening

Informative listening when combined with evaluative listening becomes critical listening.

Critical listening has its value when someone asks us to buy their product or service. We listen critically when someone makes an unbelievably good offer or comes up with a new problem-solving idea. Similarly, we engage in critical listening when listening to politicians, new paper accounts, coming up with revolutionary ideas to change existing policies, etc. Aristotle has proposed three precautions to observe in order to make an effective critique. They are ethos (credibility of the speaker), logos (logical arguments) and pathos (emotional appeals).

Critical thinking leaves one a highly logical person. But, emotions like faith and the ability to see what is not visible, like what great business leaders like Ambani, Bill Gates, Narayana Murthy, etc. saw, fall outside the logic, although they are very essential for success. high level. A very logical person is not emotional and therefore remains mediocre all his life.

discriminatory listening

The discriminating listener is one who is sensitive to changes in the speaker’s frequency, volume, strength, tone, and emphasis on different words or ideas. Whoever listens carefully or critically or with the intention of evaluating or appreciating the speaker has to listen with discernment.

Discriminative listening requires the best hearing ability stripped of any hearing defects, awareness of word nuances, awareness of sounds and pronunciations, and the ability to detect the speaker’s nonverbal cues.

listen literally

In literal listening, only the content is taken in, ignoring the relationship between the facts in the content. Because of this, the meaning of the message is lost.

Understanding the types of listening will prepare one against negative listening. The person who listens in a positive way is destined to achieve the purpose of that listening.

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