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Listening, active listening, empathetic listening.


" listening is an important communicative process and is crucial to effective communication"

Listening is a process of receiving and interpreting the spoken word. Effecting listening involves not only recognising unit boundaries phonologically, but also the recognition of false starts, pauses, hesitations, stress, intonation and rhythm patterns. Listening begins with physical hearing of the message and taking note of it. Sensing is the first step of the listening process. Once you are able to recognise the sound patterns,you have to decode and interpret the message.Decoding or interpreting in listening refers to the process of changing the coded message into information. The four stages of listening are

1. Sensing
2. message decoding or interpretation
3. Evaluation
4. Response

If the message has been analysed , interpreted and evaluated correctly, the response will be appropriate . The response makes the communication more effective as it clarifies the message and helps the speakers to know whether the message has been understood or not.

Hearing and Listening

Hearing happens automatically while listening requires conscious efforts.

1. Listening is Voluntary whereas hearing is involuntary.
2. Listening requires conscious efforts but hearing happens automatically.
3. Listening is an active process but hearing is passive process.
4. Listening plays active part but in hearing the listener plays passive role.
5. Listening is a two-way process whereas hearing is a one-way proocess.

Listening may be classified into six types.

1. Superficial Listening

The listener has little awareness of the content and the output is zero.

2. Appreciative Listening

The main purpose is to get enjoyment and pleasure.
Ex. listening to songs, stories, jokes, anecdotes.

3. Focused Listening

It involves listening for specific information . Ex. Listening to radio, television programmes, listening to railway and airport announcements.

4. Evaluative Listening

In this listening, the listener interprets and analyses what he or shelistens to in order to understand both the explicit as well as implicit meaning of the oral messages. Ex. listening to structured talks, classroom lectures, workshops, seminars.

5. Attentive Listening

It demands the complete attention of the listener. It is interactive and productive. Ex. Administrative instructions, foormal conversational interaction, suggestions, requests, important telephone calls etc.

6. Empathetic Listening

Empathetic listening is not only to listen what the listener is saying but also understands his feelings, emotions and state of mind.

Barriers to Listening

Listening is a complex process. It is desirable to take care of the barriers that may hamper the somooth flow of oral communication. Barriers to listening could be physical, psychological, linguistic or cultural.

Physical Barriers

The barriers may be noise, physical discomfort or any physical factors the disturbs the listener.

Psychological Barriers

As listening is a purposeful activity, any psychological or emotionl trubulence or disturbance can prove to be a barrier to effective listening because it leads to lack of interest and concentration.

Linguistisc Barriers

Since the message is decoded incorrectly by the listener, it may lead to confusion and misunderstading.

Cultural Barriers

If the speaker and the listener belong to different cultures and share different values, listening could become a difficult process. The interpretation of meanings can create misunderstanding during inter-cultural communication.

Ten Rules of Good Listening

1. Stop Talking while listening.
2. Stop Thinking.
3. Remove Distractions.
4. Do not let your mind wander.
5. Put the speaker at ease.
6. Do not pre-judge.
7. Be patient.
8. Do not be angry.
9. Empathise with the speaker.
10. Take Notes.

Active Listening Practices

Actiive listening demands concentration, involvement and responsibility. Active listening is interactive and productive, it facilitates proper interaction and produces new understanding. It promotes more effective listener-speaker relationships and helps us to take advantage of opportunities we might miss by being a passive listener.

In order to become an active listener, we have to adopt a set of listening practices that may help us to understand the meaning of an oral message.

Guidelines followed be an activie listerer are

1. Attentive Listening
2. Using non-verbal skills
3. Improving speaker's contribution
4. Asking questions
5. Clarifying
6. Analysing

In order to improve your listening comprehension, some basic tips on good listening need to be followed and active listening techniques should be adopted. In addition, listening strategies should be developed for specific listening tasks such as lecture comprehension, two-way interatction, student-teacher consultations, student-student negotiation, seminars, discussion sessions, and so on.
Published: 2009-01-11

About the author or the publisher
COMPLETED M.A., Mphil. And have six years experience

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