One of the most important forms of communication involves Listening. Whether we are listening to a family member or someone in our professional circle depends on how we interrupt their body language and facial expressions. There are several different types of listening including Discriminative which is the most basic form of communication. One discriminates between different sounds and inflections in the language used beginning at birth.

Comprehensive listening is the next step in order to understand what is being said and the grammar and syntax applied. Some specific words become important for content listening and informative listening to become full listening and therefore comprehension.

Critical listening is listening to evaluate and judge and to form an opinion on what is being said. This form of listening involves significant cognitive effort as one analyzes what is being said in relation to personal knowledge and rules within oneself while continuing to listen to the topic of conversation.

Biased listening occurs when one hears only what one wants to hear and misinterprets what one is saying based on stereotypes and biased beliefs.

Empathetic listening goes beyond Sympathetic listening of paying close attention to one’s sorrow or happiness. Empathetic listening involves seeking a true understanding of how one feels to disclose sensitively one’s inner self.

Dialogic listening comes from Greek for “through words” meaning learning through conversation and exchanging ideas and information in an effort to learn more about another.

Let us put into action truly listening to others to ultimately learn new concepts and put the best ideas into making this a better world in which we live.

Syd Gibson

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