The 7 Types of Listening and How to Improve Your Listening Skills Today!

types of listening

Whether you’re listening to instructions from a manager about how to complete a task or to one of your friends or family members asking for advice, we go through each day using different types of listening skills when interacting with others. Thus, being a good listener is undoubtedly one of the most essential skills. Nonetheless, listening is a skill that goes beyond the act of hearing what someone else is saying. However, many of us don’t know that there are several types of listening skills that we can have. Therefore, keep reading if you want to learn more about the different types of listening and how you can master them.

Key Takeaways

  • There are 7 types of listening skills: informational, discriminative, biased, sympathetic, comprehensive, therapeutic, and critical
  • Body language is important when conveying that you are listening to someone
  • There are four stages to listening: receiving, understanding, evaluating, and responding

Why is listening the most fundamental skill that everyone should master?

As we said before, listening is a skill we use every day. But what makes listening so important? Simply put, listening is a crucial component to communicating effectively with those around you. Not only does listening provide us with a basis of information that allows us to respond meaningfully, but it also enables us to learn and collaborate with others in our environment. Additionally, different types of listening skills also allow us to avoid misunderstandings; thus, boosting productivity in employment and educational settings.

What are the 4 stages of the types of listening processes?

Furthermore, now that we understand why it is vital to master being a good listener, let’s look at the four stages of any listening process below.

Stage One: Receiving

The first stage in any of the types of listening processes is known as receiving. The receiving stage is has two parts:

  1. Hearing: The process of listening to sounds as they are relayed to us.
  2. Attending: The process of identifying the sounds we hear and interpreting them into words and sentences.

Stage Two: Understanding

Moreover, the next stage in the listening process is called the understanding stage. We actively determine the context and meanings behind the words and sentences we hear during this stage. As a result, this process can also be viewed as decoding the messages we are listening to.

Stage Three: Evaluating 

Furthermore, the next stage in all types of listening processes is known as the evaluating stage. In this stage, individuals are able to evaluate what information they have heard before making a thought or opinion.

Stage Four: Responding

Moreover, the last stage in the listening process is called the responding sage. During this stage, individuals are able to respond to what they have heard with their thoughts and opinions. Thus, communicating to the other person in a meaningful way.

types of listening

7 types of listening skills

Furthermore, let’s take a closer look at the seven different types of listening skills we can all have before we learn how to master them for ourselves.

1. Informational Listening

This is one of the types of listening skills we utilize when we want to learn something. Therefore, we use this listening skill to understand and remember information.

2. Discriminative Listening

Next, we have discriminative listening, the first type of listening skills we have when we are born. As a result, rather than listening for words, we listen for tones in another person’s voice, along with sounds.

3. Biased Listening

Furthermore, biased listening is a form of selective hearing. Therefore, individuals use this type of listening to only retain the information they want to receive.

4. Sympathetic Listening

Next on the list of the different types of listening skills is known sympathetic listening. Sympathetic listening happens when you pay attention to the speaker’s emotion rather than the message.

5. Comprehensive Listening

Moreover, comprehensive listening is another form of listening that is used to learn new information. As a result, this is a form of listening obtained in early childhood. Additionally, comprehensive listening is also used alongside informational listening.

6. Therapeutic Listening

Next on our list of the different types of listening is known as therapeutic listening. This form of listening is used in order to understand the thoughts and feelings of other people.

7. Critical Listening

Last on our list of the different types of listening is critical listening. Critical listening is used when analyzing complex, difficult information before solving problems.

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How should your body language be when listening to someone?

Moreover, regardless of the types of listening skills you use in your daily life, body language is essential to keep in mind. Having the correct body language will help indicate to the other person that you are paying attention to what they are saying. Additionally, it also aids in showing to the other person that you understand them as well. Therefore, when listening to others, make sure to:

  • Keep eye contact with the individual you are listening to
  • Give facial feedback in the form of emotional expressions
  • Nod your head
  • Keep technology out of reach

What are the barriers that keep us from listening to what someone is saying?

Furthermore, now that we understand the different types of listening, here is a list of the barriers that can prevent us from actively listening to others.

  • Too much information coming at us at once
  • Being in our own thoughts and feelings due to personal concerns
  • Any outside distraction
  • You disagree with what the person is saying
  • How fast or slow a person is speaking to you

What are the causes of poor listening?

Moreover, while being a good listener is a skill we all want to have, it can be difficult for many to achieve. This can occur as a result of:

  • Having difficulties concentrating
  • Being unable to pay attention to details
  • Focusing too much on the style of communication rather than the context of the information
  • Making judgments about the person and what they are saying
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