Types of Listening

There are four types of listening

Types of Listening

1. Appreciative Listening

In appreciative listening, we seek certain information which will appreciate, for example that which helps meet our needs and goals. Appreciative listening is exactly what you would expect.  It involves listening to music that you enjoy, people you like to listen to because of their style and the choices your make in the films and television your watch, radio programmes and plays and musicals in the theatre.

2. Emphatic Listening

When we listen empathetically, 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 are being truly empathetic, we actually feel what they are feeling.

Among its benefits, empathic listening

  • builds trust and respect,
  • enables the disputants to release their emotions,
  • reduces tensions,
  • encourages the surfacing of information, and
  • creates a safe environment that is conducive to collaborative problem solving.

3. Comprehensive Listening

Comprehensive listening where the focus is on ‘understanding the message’. The writers consider this as the basis for the next three types of listening. However, the problem can come in the form of ‘understanding’. Depending on many factors (both individual and social) students can end up understanding the same message in different, different ways.

To comprehend the meaning requires first having a lexicon of words at our fingertips and also all rules of grammar and syntax by which we can understand what others are saying.

The same is true, of course, for the visual components of communication, and an understanding of body language helps us understand what the other person is really meaning.

In communication, some words are more important and some less so, and comprehension often benefits from extraction of key facts and items from a long spiel. Comprehension listening is also known as content listening, informative listening and full listening

4. Critical Listening

Critical listening is the fourth kind of listening where listeners have to evaluate the message. Listeners have to critically respond to the message and give their opinion. Critical listening is listening in order to evaluate and judge, forming opinion about what is being said. Judgment includes assessing strengths and weaknesses, agreement and approval.

This form of listening requires significant real-time cognitive effort as the listener analyses what is being said, relating it to existing knowledge and rules, whilst simultaneously listening to the on-going words from the speaker.


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