The Three Types of Listening

Did you know that there are three types of listening skills that people use on a regular basis?

The first one is referred to as Informal Listening. This is the method that we use to get all of our facts and figures. This method uses questions and answers, and depends on the person listening to have understood the question in the first place.

Kids may ask their teacher at school “What time is recess?” or you may ask the clerk at the grocery store “Where is the whole wheat bread?”

In order for you to get the correct information, the person must give you the right response. While this sounds simple enough, questions can easily be answered incorrectly. This can be for various reasons. The person may have not listened to your question correctly, or there might be a barrier such as language.

The next type of listening is known as Active Listening. This really involves the person who is the listener. They have to show interest in the conversation and respond appropriately.

Even if you don’t verbally respond, it is common courtesy to nod your head and show some type of emotion which indicates that you are paying attention. Another way to show that you have listened is to summarize what the person has said and say it back to them.

The next type of listening is referred to as Intuitive Listening. This is regarded as a high level of listening. It takes a lot of concentration to listen at this level.

When someone is listening intuitively, they are listening to the words as well as watching the actions of the person. For example a police officer taking a statement would be using this level of listening. They will ask the suspect to repeat the same information several times so they can find any inconsistencies to their story.

This is the type of listening where the speaker’s emotions often show through. You can tell if they are frustrated or thrilled by the topic. You will often see their faces go red, or they may start to cry because the topic affects them so much.

The next time you are listening to someone, speak see if you can identify the three different types of listening. When you can listen at the intuitive level, then you will be regarded as a great listener.

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