Types of listening



Where the listener gains pleasure/satisfaction from listening to a certain type of music for example. Appreciative sources might also include particular charismatic speakers or entertainers. These are personal preferences and may have been shaped through our experiences and expectations.


Where the listener may be trying to weigh up whether the speaker is credible, whether the message being given is logical and whether they are being duped or manipulated by the speaker. This is the type of listening that we may adopt when faced with an offer or sales pitch that requires a decision from us.


Where the listener is able to identify and distinguish inferences or emotions through the speaker’s change in voice tone, their use of pause, etc. Some people are extremely sensitive in this way, while others are less able to pick up these subtle cues. Where the listener may recognize and pinpoint a specific engine fault, a familiar laugh from a crowded theatre or their own child’s cry in a noisy playground. This ability may be affected by hearing impairment.


Where the listener tends to listen rather than talk. Their non-verbal behaviour indicates that the listener is attending to what is being said. The emphasis is on understanding the speaker’s feelings and being supportive and patient. The remaining exercise and paired activities are designed to demonstrate the advantages of empathic listening and to highlight a range of obstructions that may prevent us from being effective listeners.

Essential  for good listening


Is attentive- Good listener must pay attention to the key points. He should be alert. He should avoid any kind of distraction.

Do not assume- Good listener does not ignore the information he considers is unnecessary. He should always summarize the speaker’s ideas so that there is no misunderstanding of thoughts of speakers. He avoids premature judgements about the speakers message.

Listen for feelings and facts- Good listener deliberately listens for the feelings of the speaker. He concentrates totally on the facts. He evaluates the facts objectively. His listening is sympathetic, active and alert. He keenly observes the gestures, facial expression and body language of the speaker. In short, a good listener should be projective (i.e. one who tries to understand the views of the speaker) and empathic (i.e. one who concentrates not only on the surface meaning of the message but tries to probe the feelings and emotions of the speaker).

Concentrate on the other speakers kindly and generously- A good listener makes deliberate efforts to give a chance to other speakers also to express their thoughts and views. He tries to learn from every speaker. He evaluates the speaker’s ideas in spare time. He focuses on the content of the speaker’s message and not on the speaker’s personality and looks.

Opportunizes- A good listener tries to take benefit from the opportunities arising. He asks “What’s in it for me?”



Deterrents to listening process


1)Fear of other people’s power


2) Feeling competitive with speaker


3) Prior expectations about speaker or subject matter


4) Distractions – noise, phone calls, other demands on our time and concentration


5) Speaker or subject matter evokes a feeling, association or memory to something else.


6) Depending upon how our early needs were listened or not listened to, affects our current listening behavior.


7) Discomfort with interpersonal interactions








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