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Types of Listening

There are 3 main types of listening.


1-Active Listening
The listener gives verbal or non-verbal feedback by asking questions and/or by paraphrasing what the speaker said. In this situation, the listener uses his other senses to go beyond the words spoken. Hearing alone does not provide enough information. It is about understanding the speaker’s point of view without necessarily agreeing with it. Active listening is the most civil type of listening because you must acknowledge emotions and feelings.
Active listening is used to ensure a mutual understanding. In fact, in a conversation, the interlocutor is rarely fully committed. It is very common for the listener to be distracted by preoccupations, noise and other distractions. Overall, the interlocutor is only providing his full attention 50% of the time.
This type of listening is the most valuable during a conflict. When a conflict occurs, we concentrate on our arguments and how we will respond instead of listening to the speaker. This means that we are unable to effectively comprehend the speaker’s message. Active listening doesn’t mean we have to agree with the speaker, simply understand what they are trying to convey.
A good way to see if you have understood the speaker’s words is to paraphrase. This way, misunderstandings can be detected and solved quickly.
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2-Critical Listening
The critical listening is also known: as evaluative, judgmental or interpretive listening.
The main goal of this type of listening is to evaluate the message with logic while analyzing the different arguments provided by the speaker. It requires some analysis, judgment and critical thinking. It is necessary in order to be able to criticize the strength of the evidence and to determine the motive of the speaker. However, critical listening is not an easy task to accomplish because it is needed to absorb and evaluate the information together.
When applying critical listening, the main key point is to first of all understand the speaker before evaluating. Questioning oneself about the credibility, the validity and the strength of the evidence is vital. Some other questions such as: Is this speaker bias? Is he a trusted expert in his domain of expertise? These types of questions can help separate the facts from the personal opinions from the speaker.
In this situation, it is important to be open-minded because it is important to stay objective.
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3-Content listening
This type of listening involves understanding and retaining the information provided by the speaker. It also requires to identify the main key points of the message and to find cues by doing a summary of it. Moreover, it is important to understand different sounds and tones provide by the speaker. However, some other factors need to be taken under consideration such as phonology, vocabulary, grammar, general discourse, and informational discourse.
To effectively apply content listening, it is needed once again identify the main idea or the key points of the message. Then, the next thing to do is to ask questions for clarifications if the message was misunderstood. This will increase the level of understanding of the message transmitted.
For more tips on effective listening please visit techniques to increase listening skills.
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