Four Main Listening Styles

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Chapter three explains the differences between four main listening styles. There are empathetic and objective listening, active and non-active listening, nonjudgmental and critical listening and lastly surface and depth listening. I think my style of listening is largely active and inactive listening. Active listening is hearing what is said, concentrating on the message and absorbing it. Active listening includes paraphrasing the speaker's ideas and meanings, being able to express understanding of his/her feelings and asking questions on an unclear point. I listen to the meaning behind the words, not just take it for face value, and if I don't quite understand what it is they are trying to say I will paraphrase what I am understanding and ask if it is right or not. Inactive listening is simply being present when someone is speaking, but not absorbing what is being said. Simply hearing the words – there is no recognition of the speaker's message or intent. You will be there physically, but not mentally, the phrase "in one ear and out the other" comes to mind when I think of inactive listening. One situation where the active style of listening was used was when I lived at home. My mom worked Monday through Friday from eight to five, so she spent a long time away from home. I specifically remember days when she would walk through the door and drop her purse and say "I hate work!" I didn't understand why because just the week before, she came home excited because she had received a promotion. Reading between the lines I could see that something was really bothering her. So when I asked specifics, she started telling me about how the people at work don't appreciate the work she does, how they expect a lot from her and how the other women in the office speak down to her.

Using tools in the active style of listening like paraphrasing and asking questions can help make sense of any unclear points. While speaking with my mom, I couldn't understand how these things...
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