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Education Resources

Listening and Types of Listening from Business Communication

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Listening is a highly complex, interactive process “by which spoken language is converted to meaning in the mind”. As this definition suggests, listening is more than just hearing, although these two terms are often used synonymously. Hearing is only an important component of listening. Listening is a specialized form of hearing and is the primary function of the ear. The most crucial part of the listening process is thinking or converting to meaning what one hears.

Hearing is a passive process. It is merely the detection of sounds around us. Normally, we come across ‘hearing’ in certain situations.

Listening: It is an active process. It involves the conscious desire to determine the meaning of what is heard. While listening, one is engaged in processing the date, reconstructing the data and also giving meaning to the data.

Types of Listening:

Discriminative listening:

As the name itself suggests, discriminative listening is the most basic type of listening, whereby the difference between the sounds is identified. If you cannot hear differences, then you cannot grasp the meaning that is expressed by such differences.

Comprehension listening:

When the discrimination between sounds is achieved, one should learn to make sense of the perceived sound. To comprehend the meaning, one requires a lexicon of words and all rules of grammar and syntax by which one can understand what others are saying.

Evaluative listening:

Evaluative listening is also called ‘critical listening’ because we make judgments about what the other person is saying. We seek to assess the truth of what is being said, We also judge what they say about our values, assessing them as good or bad, worthy or unworthy.

Appreciative listening:

In appreciative listening, the main intention is to seek certain information which will be appreciated.

Empathetic listening:

When we listen empathetically, we seek to understand the beliefs, moods, emotions and goals of other people. This requires excellent discrimination and close attention to the nuances of emotional signals.

Therapeutic listening:

In therapeutic listening, the listener has a purpose of not only empathizing with the speaker but also to use this deep connection in order to help the speaker understand, change or develop in some way.

Dialogic listening:

The word ‘dialogue’ stems from the Greek words ‘dia’, meaning ‘through’ and ‘logos’ meaning ‘words’. Thus dialogic listening means learning through conversation. Dialogic listening is also known as ‘relational listening’ because with the help of exchange of ideas while listening, we also indirectly creation a relation.

The chapter has also been taken from Business Communication book of SMU MBA in the sequel of Visual Aids.


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