Listening is perhaps the most important interpersonal skill, and SkillsYouNeed contains some resources related to this subject. It draws on the work of Wolvin and Coakley – and others’ work to review the various kinds of listening. Effective listening is often the foundation that builds strong relationships with others at work, school, home, and social settings. We aim that this site will be beneficial for teachers and students and in many ways also for students and teachers of different researchers looking to develop their listening skills. Listening is the process derived from building meaning from and responding to voice and other communication.
Types of listening
There are four types of listening: Active, Reflective, Empathic, and Collaborative. Together they form a spectrum where each style builds on those before it to create more effective communication; all types have their advantages and disadvantages in different situations with people from different backgrounds or cultures. The following best practices will help you develop your listening style and help you identify others’ styles.
This style is based on the speaker’s words, without interrupting or elaborating too much. It can be used when one person needs to take charge to maintain focus during a conversation that has wandered off course. Active listeners are very good at catching and reflecting speakers’ words so that the speaker feels heard.
This style is based on listeners taking an interest in what the speaker has to say and showing active empathy for their feelings, thoughts, or experiences by making a connection with them through statements like “I know how you feel,” “That sounds difficult” or “You care about this.” It can be used when one person shows understanding and compassion for another’s feelings or experiences.
Empathic listeners are very good at recognizing the different emotions speakers feel, like fear, sadness, and anger. Reflective Listening: This style is based on listening in a way that gives feedback to the speaker. It can be used when one person needs to provide encouragement or reassurance for the feelings, thoughts, and experiences another has shared with them. Reflective listeners are very good at giving feedback that strengthens a connection between themselves and speakers; they also understand what is being communicated by making connections in their own life experiences.
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This style is based on listening to take the thoughts and opinions of others into account. It can be used when one person needs to create a shared understanding with another’s different perspective or point of view. Collaborative listeners are very good at taking input from speakers and using this as an opportunity for developing their ideas.
This style is based on listening in a way that gives feedback to the speaker. It can be used when one person needs to provide encouragement or reassurance for the feelings, thoughts, and experiences another has shared with them. Reflective listeners are very good at giving feedback that strengthens a connection between themselves and speakers; they also understand what is being communicated by making connections in their own life experiences.
Best Practices for good listening
The following list of best practices will help you develop your listening style and help you identify others’ styles.
- Meet the speaker where they are in a conversation by showing interest and understanding for their views, feelings, or experience
- Recognize that different people have different needs when it comes to communication – some people need encouragement while other people need space.
- Focus on listening to the speaker and building a connection with them rather than responding too soon; it will help you understand what they have to say
- Acknowledge speakers’ feelings, thoughts, and experiences without being overly enthusiastic or dismissive about how someone is feeling – sometimes silence can be very supportive in response to something that has been shared
- Use active listening when you need to maintain focus or establish a sense of authority in the conversation. Use empathic listening when you feel emotionally connected and understanding towards what someone is saying; use reflective listening if you need to provide feedback that will strengthen the connection between your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with another’s and provide encouragement or reassurance. Use collaborative listening when you need to establish a shared understanding to open up the conversation and explore different perspectives
Other types of listening
Listening is when you hear what someone says. There are different types of listening, and these include:
Sympathetic listening is an emotionally-driven type of interpersonal relationship listening where a listener tries to process the feelings and emotions of a speaker and provide support and understanding back. You might use it, for example, when intervening in a conflict between two children at school.
This type of listening has a focus on what is being said and getting the information. It’s commonly used when reading instructions or news items. You might use it, for example, when you’re trying to figure out how to solve an issue in your company with another employee by gathering facts about their perspective, experience, and point of view.
This type of listening is very goal-driven and focuses on getting the information that’s needed to achieve that goal. It might be used, for example, when shopping in an unfamiliar area, trying to gather essential facts about goods or services so you can make decisions at your destination. Selective Listening
This is a listening where you might be biased to what you are hearing. Maybe your opinions about the speaker before they started talking made it hard for you to attend. If this is happening, you can’t understand because some of the information got filtered out. You might make the same mistakes with future communications if this.
When people are listening for information, they use a different type of listening. For this listening, you need to focus and think about what the person is saying. You also have to understand words that are new or complicated. The moving part doesn’t matter as much because it’s all about understanding the information.
Benefits of Being a Good Listener
Being an attentive listener is worth implementing in most conversations. Good listeners often make others feel safe to voice their opinions and can reduce the tension during arguments. They may also be more likable and develop stronger relationships with better understandings of topics being discussed.
- Good listeners make people feel better. It is not just the person talking who feels good. The listener does too. Communication is not a one-way street because good listeners ask open-ended questions and show interest in what they say. This helps to reduce misunderstandings and builds stronger relationships with people because either makes no arguments
- Good listeners have a better idea of what is being said when communicating. Individuals with refined listening skills are more interested in fully understanding the speaker’s message. They pay attention to verbal and nonverbal cues and seek clarification when there is doubt about what they hear.
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