Types of Listening

Listening is the process of receiving a message, constructing it, understanding the message that is conveyed and responding to spoken or non verbal messages.

Most of the times, people take listening for granted. Only when one stops to think about listening, people begin to realise that listening in fact is an impotant skill that needs to be developed.

Effective Listening is the strong foundation of healthy relationships with others at home, socially or in the workplace.

Below mentioned are few types of Listening:

1. Comprehensive Listening- It means understanding the message or messages that are being communicated. The listener first needs appropriate vocabulary and language skills to understand the message that is being conveyed. Using a complicated language can therefore be a barrier to comprehensive listening. The process of compreensive listening can be furthur complicated when two different people listen to the same thing but may understand the message in different ways.

Comprehensive Listening can also happen in non verbal communication such as the tone of voice, gestures and body languages. These non verbal signals can greatly help commuication but can also confuse. In many listening situations, it is important to seek clarification for the better understanding of the message that is conveyed.

2. Informational Listening- When one listens to something one is by default engaged in informational listening. This is true in many situations in education or at work place. All types of listening are active but informational listening is less active than any other type of listening. Informational Listening, especially in a formal atmosphere like in work meetings or in education, is often accompanied by note taking.

3. Critical Listening- One is engaged in critical listening, when the goal is to evaluate or scrutinise what is being said. Critical Listening is much more active behaviour than informational listening and usually it involves some sort of problem solving or decision making.

The term ‘critical’ does not always mean finding faults. Rather critical listening means engaging in what you are listening to ask queations to yourself. Many of our dat to day decisions are based on some form of ‘ critical analysis’ whether it be critical listening, reading or thought. Our opinions, values and beliefs are based on our ability to process information and formulate our beliefs.

It is of vital importance during critical listening to have an open mind and not a biased approach. By following this process, one will become a better listener and broade n the knowledge and perception of other people and also relationships.

4. Empathetic Listening- Empathetic listening involves attempting to understand the feelings and emotions of the speaker. Empathy is deeply connecting with other person and empathetic listening can sometimes be very challenging. Empathy requires being compassionate or feeling sorry for somebody else. It does not involve making judgements but gently encouraging the speaker to explain and elaborate on their feelings and emotions.

Thus, listening involves many challenges and forms an important part of our daily lives. One needs to develop excellent listening abilities to send across a message in an effective manner and with an Assertive Attitude.


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