Types of Listening Skills | Listening Types With Examples

Types of Listening Skills | Listening Types With Examples

Types of listening can be discriminative, comprehensive, active, appreciative, critical, emphatic, deep or false. Here you will find more types of listening humans practice in the lifetime.

Types of listening vary according to the execution of a certain set of processes that include complex affective, cognitive processes and behavioral processes. Complex affective processes include motivation to attend others; cognitive processes include receiving, understanding, interpreting information and relational messages; behavioral processes include responds towards verbal or non-verbal communication.

Listening is a set of five processes; these are Receiving information in verbal or non-verbal form; Deciphering the information; Analyzing the information based on knowledge, wisdom or perception; Understanding the analyzed information, and Constructing a meaning form based on the understanding.

French semiotician Ronald Barthes distinguished listening and hearing as “Hearing is a psychological phenomenon; listening is a psychological act.” Hearing is always occurring subconsciously or consciously, whereas listening is based on the action taken by the listener in order to interpret the message.

Discriminative listening and Comprehensive listening are the foundation of all listening sub-types, here is the list of most useful 10 different listening types and sub-types.

1. Discriminative Listening

It is the most basic types of listening, where different sounds of words or phrases are recognized without understanding the meaning. Discriminative listening is developed at a very early stage, perhaps in the womb of a mother.

As we grow older, improvement of our ability to distinguish different sounds happens simultaneously. Discriminative listening is the fundamental way to recognize what sounds mean; the sound may of anger, happiness, or of other forms. We start to discriminate between sounds within our own language; that is the reason people may find it difficult to recognize different subtle of a foreign language without proper training.

Discriminative listening also involves distinguishing body-language of the speaker, when the discrimination of sounds and body-language is combined, a listener may be able to know the emotion, meaning behind the speech effectively.

When we don’t understand the sound of a foreign language while watching a movie or meeting people around us, we may discriminate between sounds of male or female, types of emotional expression and we can comprehend the sound to a certain level based on the sound and body language.

2. Comprehensive Listening

This type of listening involves understanding the meaning of the message, and little more of seeking the meaning of a message. Comprehensive listening involves understanding the message based on vocabulary, language skill, one’s perception, body-language, and gesture.

Two different can understand a message in different ways, this phenomenon may complicate the purport of comprehensive listening. The reason is comprehensive listening involves the implementation of cognitive skill and people may interpret and understand the message based on one’s knowledge, understanding, and perception.

For developing effective comprehensive listening, one has to improve vocabulary, language skill, knowledge and cognitive learning abilities. A person with exiguous cognitive skill may reflect the first recall value without analysis and understanding; that is the reason we often see people disagree or quarrel over hitches.

First recall value is the intuitive instant reflection of words, sentences or action based on the input provided to your brain; for example, what brand name comes to your mind when we talk about soft drinks? Most of the people in the world reflect Coca Cola or PepsiCo.

3. Appreciative Listening

In this type of listening, we seek certain information that we will appreciate; for example, we appreciate when we find a good music, poetry, motivational speech and maybe the speech of a charismatic leader. In this listening type, the orators engage the listener by delivering the need, concern, interest, expectation and sometimes emotion of the listener.

4. Active Listening

As the name suggests, active listening is bringing concentration on what is being expressed through verbal or non-verbal communication, showing interest towards the speaker through verbal communication such as ‘hmm’ or ‘mmm hmmm’; or non-verbal communication such as eye contact, posture etc.

Active listening needs patience, practice and motivation to listen; leader, entrepreneurs, students, managers need to practice active listening for effective communication.

Active listening involves enactment of the all the listening process viz. complex affective, cognitive processes and behavioral processes.

5. Critical Listening

Critical listening is based on the evaluation, analysis, and understanding of what is being said by the speaker. This listening skill is mostly used by a psychiatrist, decision makers, problem-solvers, and leaders.

Since critical listening is for evaluation of the speaker, decision making based on the speech, and analysis of the speech; efficient critical listening, utilization of cognitive skill, behavioral process, and complex understanding is needed. A listener may ask questions to himself during critical listening; for example, “What is speaker is trying to say? Why is the speaker delivering the speech? What can be the solution to the problem the speaker is saying?”

6. Informal Listening

Informal listening is less active than other forms of listening; we practice informal listening in daily life. This listening is used to learn, do habituated work, and while we are busy doing other work; for example, you may listen to someone while driving a car, in this scenario, you are driving the car and listening less actively to the speaker.

7. Emphatic Listening

Empathic or therapeutic listening is used for understanding feeling and emotion of the speaker and sometimes the listener may actually feel what the speaker is feeling.

This listening needs good close attention, discriminative listening, comprehensive listening, and deep connection with the emotion of the speaker.

8. Deep Listening

Deep listening is beyond the active, critical or empathic listening; in this listening, the listener needs to understand and analyses the whole person behind the speech.

Deep listening type involves listening to every line of what is being said; evaluating need, concern, and expectation of the speaker; understanding the emotional behavior of the speaker; analyzing the body-language; identifying the preferences and biases of the speaker; and identifying beliefs and values of the speaker.

9. Initial Listening

In this listening type, the listener listens to hear first few lines of the speaker and then start thinking what the listener want to say in return. The listener waits for the opportunity to interrupt the speaker while thinking about the response. This listening type is generally implemented in political debates, reporting breaking news and during informal communication between people.

10. False Listening

False listening is a practice where the listener pretends to listen but the listener is not hearing what is being said.

Sometimes, Politician, royalty, and celebrity adopt this listening type as they might need not to talk to that person again or as they talk to them to make an impression only. This listening type is also being practiced by some of the youth or students consciously or subconsciously as they might busy surfing social media or addictive internet application while talking to someone else.

Additional Listening Types

Here is the list of additional listening types you should know,

Listening TypeShort Description
Relationship ListeningBased on common interest and expectation, used to build/improve relationship
Rapport ListeningUsed to encourage and gain the trust of the speaker
Selective Listeningkind of biased listening where listener listen what they want to listen
Judgmental ListeningUsed to make judgment based on analysis and understanding
High-Integrity ListeningListener focuses on integrity, concern and expectation
Reflective ListeningListen to reflect back what the other person said
Sympathic ListeningListening to show sympathy, emotional value through behavioral processes
Partial ListeningListening most of the time and spend few moment to think
Informative ListeningListening to understand the meaning or to remember the information
Evaluative ListeningUsed to evaluate, criticize, judge what other person is saying

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