Types of listening Here are six types of listening, starting with basic discrimination of sounds and ending in deepcommunication. Discriminative listening Discriminative listening is the most basic type of listening, whereby the difference between difference soundsis identified. If you cannot hear differences, then you cannot make sense of the meaning that is expressed bysuch differences. We learn to discriminate between sounds within our own language early, and later areunable to discriminate between the phonemes of other languages.
This is one reason why a person from onecountry finds it difficult to speak another language perfectly, as they are unable distinguish the subtle soundsthat are required in that language. Likewise, a person who cannot hear the subtleties of emotional variation in another person's voice will be lesslikely to be able to discern the emotions the other person is experiencing. Listening is a visual as well as auditory act, as we communicate much throughbody language. We thus alsoneed to be able to discriminate between muscle and skeletal movements that signify different meanings.
Biased listening Biased listening happens when the person hears only what they want to hear, typically misinterpreting whatthe other person says based on thestereotypesand other biases that they have. Such biased listening isoften very evaluative in nature. Evaluative listening In evaluative listening, or critical listening , we make judgments about what the other person is saying. Weseek to assess the truth of what is being said. We also judge what they say against ourvalues, assessingthem as good or bad, worthy or unworthy.
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Evaluative listening is particularly pertinent when the other person is trying to persuade us, perhaps tochange our behavior and maybe even to change ourbeliefs. Within this, we also discriminate betweensubtleties of language and comprehend the inner meaning of what is said. Typically also we weigh up the prosand cons of an argument, determining whether it makes sense logically as well as whether it is helpful to us. Evaluative listening is also called critical, judgmental or interpretive listening. Appreciative listening
In appreciative listening, we seek certain information which will appreciate, for example that which helpsmeet ourneedsandgoals. We use appreciative listening when we are listening to good music, poetry ormaybe even the stirring words of a great leader. Sympathetic listeningIn sympathetic listening we care about the other person and show this concern in the way we pay closeattention and express our sorrow for their ills and happiness at their joys. Empathetic listening When we listenempathetically, we go beyond sympathy to seek a truer understand how others are feeling.
This requires excellent discrimination and close attention to the nuances of emotional signals. When we arebeing truly empathetic, we actually feel what they are feeling. In order to get others to expose these deep parts of themselves to us, we also need to demonstrate ourempathy in our demeanor towards them, asking sensitively and in a way that encourages self-disclosure. Therapeutic listening In therapeutic listening, the listener has a purpose of not only empathizing with the speaker but also to usethis deep connection in order to help the speaker understand, change or develop in some way.
This not onlyhappens when you go to see a therapist but also in many social situations, where friends and family seek toboth diagnose problems from listening and also to help the speaker cure themselves, perhaps by somecathartic process. This also happens in work situations, where managers, HR people, trainers and coachesseek to help employees learn and develop. Relationship listening Sometimes the most important factor in listening is in order to develop or sustain a relationship.
This is whylovers talk for hours and attend closely to what each other has to say when the same words from someoneelse would seem to be rather boring. Relationship listening is also important in areas such as negotiation and sales, where it is helpful if the otherperson likes you and trusts you. False listening False listening occurs where a person is pretending to listen but is not hearing anything that is being said. They may nod, smile and grunt in all the right places, but do not actually take in anything that is said.
This is askill that may be finely honed by people who do a lot of inconsequential listening, such as politicians androyalty. Their goal with their audience is to make a good impression in very short space of time before theymove on, never to talk to that person again. It is also something practiced by couples, particularly where oneside does most of the talking. However, the need for relationship here can lead to this being spotted ('You'renot listening again! ') and consequent conflict. Initial listening
Sometimes when we listen we hear the first few words and then start to think about what we want to say inreturn. We then look for a point at which we can interrupt. We are also not listening then as we are spendingmore time rehearsing what we are going to say about their initial point. Selective listening Selective listening involves listening for particular things and ignoring others. We thus hear what we want tohear and pay little attention to 'extraneous' detail. Partial listeningPartial listening is what most of us do most of the time.
We listen to the other person with the best of intentand then become distracted, either by stray thoughts or by something that the other person has said. Weconsequently dip inside our own heads for a short while as we figure out what they really mean or formulate a question for them, before coming back into the room and starting to listen again. This can be problematicwhen the other person has moved on and we are unable to pick up the threads of what is being said. We thuseasily can fall into false listening, at least for a short while. This can be embarrassing, of course, if theysuddenly ask your opinion.
A tip here: own up, admitting that you had lost the thread of the conversation andasking them to repeat what was said. Full listening Full listening happens where the listener pays close and careful attention to what is being said, seekingcarefully to understand the full content that the speaker is seeking to put across. This may be very active form of listening, with pauses for summaries and testing that understanding iscomplete. By the end of the conversation, the listener and the speaker will probably agree that the listenerhas fully understood what was said.
Full listening takes much more effort than partial listening, as it requires close concentration, possibly for aprotracted period. It also requires skills of understanding and summary. Deep listening Beyond the intensity of full listening, you can also reach into a form of listening that not only hears what issaid but also seeks to understand the whole person behind the words. In deep listening, you listen between the lines of what is said, hearing theemotion, watching thebody language, detectingneedsandgoals, identifyingpreferencesand biases, perceivingbeliefsandvalues, and soon.
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