Listening Styles


Listening refers to the process of receiving, understanding, recollecting, assessing as well as responding to both verbal and non-verbal messages. Although listening may appear simple, the depth of listening is not as simple as people think. In most cases, people confuse hearing and listening. Hearing is a physical process while listening is both a physical and psychological process.

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Types of Listening Styles

The type of message determines the listening style to be employed. The main styles of listening include, empathetic, comprehensive, appreciative, and critical and pseudo. Empathetic listening entails connecting with other people emotionally. Comprehensive listening involves understanding the conveyed message. Lastly, pseudo listening entails playacting to listen to the speaker and not absorbing the message. I closely identify with empathetic listening more as opposed to the other listening styles. I tend to listen to my friends as they speak about their predicaments, empathize with them and offer consolation. Gender has affected my listening style to some extent. Being a female, I communicate feelings to my friends often. Females feel comfortable being intimate with their friends. As opposed to female’s men communicate more in public places, and they rarely establish eye contact with the speaker. Females can talk about a single topic at length while the male switch to various issues. When communicating the female normally agree or support the speaker. Contrary, the men tend to debate more in their communication. Apart from gender, other factors influence the listening style. For instance, biases towards the speaker can hinder listening. Besides, environmental factors such as temperature and noise can hinder listening. Limited attention also affects listening.


Listening plays a significant role in our lives. Good listeners tend to express their opinions fully. Hence they communicate effectively with other people. The listening style employed depends on the type of message conveyed. Conclusively, listening is not only physical but also psychological.



Brownell, J. (2015). Listening: Attitudes, principles, and skills. Routledge.