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5 Listening Styles – Understand For Best Communication

What are the 5 Listening Styles

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Hey there, fellow conversational connoisseurs!

Let’s dive headfirst into the thrilling world of listening styles, or as I like to call it, the “ABCDE” of ear etiquette.

Buckle up because we’re about to embark on a journey through the auditory landscape, exploring the fine art of hearing (or not hearing) what others have to say.

So, grab your imaginary popcorn because this is one movie you won’t want to mute!

Our stars of the show are the “ABCDE” listening styles: Active, Bored, Critical, Dominating, and Empathic.

Think of them as the five characters in a gripping drama, each with their quirks and tendencies that can either make or break a conversation.

First up, we have “Active Listening.” It’s the empathetic superhero of our story, with its power of undivided attention and superhuman empathy.

Active listeners make you feel like the star of the show, and trust me, you’ll want them in your audience.

Then there’s “Bored Listening,” our restless wanderer in the conversation wilderness.

They’re the ones who might as well have a “snooze” button on their foreheads. We’ll uncover how to spot them and maybe even wake them up from their conversational slumber.

“Critical Listening” is the discerning detective in our tale, always on the lookout for hidden clues and facts.

They can sometimes also be over critical with certain sounds and suffer from misophonia.

They’ll dissect your words like a crime scene investigation, and we’ll learn how to appreciate their knack for detail.

Next, we’ll meet “Dominating Listening,” our conversation hog. They don’t just steal the spotlight; they build a whole theatrical production around themselves.

We’ll explore how to tame these enthusiastic monologuers and bring balance to the script.

Last but certainly not least, we’ll be charmed by “Empathic Listening.” It’s the heartfelt hugger in our ensemble, always ready with a tissue and a kind word.

We’ll discover how their empathy supercharges conversations, leaving you feeling understood and supported.

So, fasten your seatbelts as we navigate the ABCDE of listening styles.

Get ready for witty insights, practical tips, and a dash of charm as we explore the fine art of hearing others in a way that’ll make you the star of any social scene!

The ABCDE of Listening Styles

Dipti Tait Listening Expert

Active Listening

Active listening is a highly engaged and attentive style of listening. When practicing active listening, the listener focuses intently on the speaker and the message being conveyed.
Key features of active listening include maintaining eye contact, nodding or using affirmative gestures, and providing verbal cues such as “I understand” or “Tell me more.”
Active listeners often ask open-ended questions to encourage the speaker to elaborate and clarify their thoughts and feelings. 
This style of listening is characterised by a genuine desire to comprehend and empathise with the speaker’s perspective, making it an essential skill in the field of psychotherapy and hypnotherapy.
Active listening fosters a strong sense of connection and trust between the listener and the speaker, facilitating effective communication and problem-solving.

Bored Listening

This style of listening is absolutely fine for one way listening – for example listening to music, a podcast or the radio.
When a person is Bored listening in a two way scenario, this will be a passive and disengaged style of listening where the listener is not fully invested in the conversation.
When someone is engaged in bored listening, they may exhibit signs of restlessness, such as fidgeting, checking their phone, or appearing distracted. Their facial expressions and body language often convey disinterest or impatience. 
They may respond with minimal or monosyllabic answers, showing a lack of enthusiasm for the conversation. Bored listeners tend to focus more on their internal thoughts or unrelated concerns than on what the speaker is saying.
This style of listening can be detrimental to effective communication, as it can make the speaker feel unimportant or unheard. It’s essential to recognise and address bored listening to maintain productive and meaningful conversations.

Critical Listening

Critical listening is a focused and analytical style of listening that involves evaluating and assessing the information presented by the speaker.
When practicing critical listening, the listener approaches the conversation with a critical mindset, aiming to understand the content deeply, identify strengths and weaknesses in the arguments or information, and make informed judgments. 
Critical listeners often ask probing questions, seek evidence to support claims, and may offer constructive feedback or counterarguments.
They prioritise the accuracy and validity of the information being conveyed and are less concerned with the emotional or personal aspects of the message. This style of listening is valuable in situations where objective analysis and decision-making are required, such as in academic settings, business negotiations, or when evaluating scientific or technical information.

Dominated Listening

Dominated listening is characterised by a conversation partner who is more interested in speaking than in genuinely listening to the speaker. In this style of listening, the listener often interrupts the speaker, cutting them off before they can finish their thoughts. They may be impatient and eager to share their own opinions, experiences, or stories. 
As a result, dominated listening can be frustrating for the speaker, as they feel that their voice is not being heard or valued. 
Listeners who engage in dominated listening tend to steer the conversation toward their own agenda and may not fully consider the speaker’s perspective. They often respond with statements like, “That reminds me of when I…” or “Let me tell you what happened to me.”
This style can hinder effective communication and empathy, as the speaker’s needs and feelings are overshadowed by the listener’s desire to talk about themselves. 
Addressing dominated listening involves encouraging the listener to be more patient, allowing the speaker to finish their thoughts, and showing a genuine interest in the speaker’s perspective. 

Empathic Listening

Empathic listening is a compassionate and understanding style of listening that goes beyond merely hearing words. It involves deeply connecting with the speaker on an emotional level and striving to comprehend their feelings, thoughts, and experiences.
They are patient and willing to allow the speaker to share at their own pace. Empathic listeners do not rush the conversation or interrupt unnecessarily.
They avoid passing judgment or making hasty conclusions. Empathic listeners create a safe and non-judgmental space for the speaker to express themselves openly.
Instead of offering immediate solutions or advice, empathic listeners prioritise active listening and understanding. They may only provide advice if the speaker explicitly requests it.
Empathic listening is particularly important in therapeutic settings, where building trust and a strong therapeutic alliance are essential. It fosters a sense of safety and support, enabling individuals to explore and express their emotions more freely.
This style of listening can enhance relationships, reduce conflicts, and promote deeper understanding between people.

What is YOUR Listening Style Preference?

It is interesting to observe your most natural style of listening and if required modify and adapt your style accordingly to pattern match the person you are speaking to and the scenario you are in.

Effective listeners will be able to switch in and out of the 5 listening styles in all situations for effective communication.

This understanding often requires self awareness and practice. Listening must be a balanced exchange where both parties have an opportunity to speak and listen and both parties feel heard and understood.
It’s also important to highlight that ‘Listening’ and ‘Hearing’ are not the same.
I’d love to hear about how YOU listen!…I’m all ears!
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