written by | May 30, 2022


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What are the Types of Listening Skills? 8 Types Explained

Understanding the importance of listening style is easy. It’s a general way that a person listens to the words of another. Some people pay more attention to details, while some pay especially attention to time. There are many listening styles entirely different from each other.

Understanding the listening style of the person to whom you're talking is very important, especially when it's critical for you to convey your message to the listener perfectly. According to the listener, you may need to change your speaking tone. This leads to healthy communication.

This article explains the importance of understanding the listening styles and highlights the vital points of the 8 main listening types.

Did You know?

According to Goh's Study, the basic issue that students face in listening is the frequency order. In simple words, they quickly forget what they heard. Therefore, it becomes hard to recognise the words no matter if they already know them.

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Why Are Listening Skills Important to Communicate?

There are eight general listening styles, each of which has its own distinct characteristics. For example, people-oriented listeners are primarily concerned with the needs and feelings of others.

They may be distracted from the message or task at hand, but they enjoy complex messages and multiple perspectives on a given issue. Content-oriented listeners enjoy complex information and are typically considered credible. Time-oriented listeners are often focused on completing tasks, and they are quick to make decisions and verbally state time constraints.

Discriminative listeners do not always give heed to the content of the speaker. They may not fully understand the speaker's message or feel able to ask probing questions.

However, when people are speaking with each other, they should be aware of their listening style so as to ensure that they get the message across. These differences are vital in business, politics and other communication situations. It's always best to understand the listener's style to create an effective communication strategy.

8 Different Types of Listening Skills & Styles

As now you know the importance of listening skills, let’s know how the different styles of listening work. We use informational, critical and empathic styles when we listen to people. Those who use informational listening are usually in school or work in an office setting. They are also likely to take physical notes and pay attention to body language. Developing informational listening skills is ideal for beginning a new job or self-development study. We can use all eight styles. But which one is best for you?

1. Empathetic Listening

As the name implies, empathic listening is based on understanding beyond the facts and providing support and empathy to the speaker. Using this type of listening style builds trust and positive interactions. The benefits of empathic listening extend beyond interpersonal relationships.

Empathetic listening is the most common type of listening. It involves identifying with the other person's feelings and experiences. The listener is not necessarily required to experience the same thing as the speaker, but he or she should try to imagine the other person's experience. For example, if your coworker is facing an increase in workload, you will understand his or her struggle. By understanding the other person's feelings, you will be able to make a better decision.

Developing empathetic listening skills requires practice and understanding of the person talking to you. Learning about their lives and picking up on nonverbal cues will help you become a better listener. But remember that it takes time to develop your listening skills.

The more you practice, the more effective you'll become. So start practising today to become a better listener. After all, you won't get anywhere without practice.

2. Active Listening

If we talk about how to improve listening skills, active listening is among the most important ones. When you are communicating with someone, active listening is crucial. The active listener will pay attention to every word of what is being said and will often show their own response by verbally giving feedback.

Active listeners are the holy grail of audiences. While active listening can be tricky to master, it's vitally important to know how to effectively communicate with an active listener.

The most effective way to listen is to engage in active listening. People who practice this style are generous and considerate listeners who place the needs of others above their own. They prioritise the point of view of others, even if this requires filtering out other points of view.

They also value facts and consider their own feelings before answering. Active listeners may even ask questions on behalf of other people, which shows that they are attentive and care about other people's opinions.

The main difference between active listening and forced listening is that active listeners focus their attention on the speaker rather than on other distractions. In addition, they avoid interrupting the speaker and are more likely to remember important information. 

Active listeners can also be more attentive to nonverbal cues like body language and eye contact when they are active listeners. The key to active listening is paying attention. This style is important for communication because it improves the quality of information that is communicated.

3. Time-oriented Listening

Time-oriented listeners are concerned with timeliness and time limits. This type of listener is similar to an "executive" in that they will verbally express time constraints. These listeners have short attention spans and will prefer to hear the message quickly without unnecessary details. As a result, time-oriented listeners may be impatient and rude if they don't get their point across quickly.

There are many different types of listening styles. One type of listening style is referred to as "time-oriented," which refers to a person's interest in time and deadlines. Time-oriented listeners also tend to verbalise these constraints. These individuals typically listen with their minds focused on what they will get from the message.

Time-oriented listeners pay attention to time. They don't want to waste time. They want to make the most of their time and are critical of mistakes. When listening, they will often tell the speaker how long they will be listening to their message. When the information is clear and easy to follow, they will be more receptive. Time-oriented listeners may be impatient with rambling or long-winded people.

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4. Action-oriented Listening

Action-oriented listeners value concise, error-free messages. They enjoy lists and are quick to spot inconsistencies. They are also likely to notice mistakes and inconsistencies in a speaker's message.

Action-oriented listeners are also more likely to ask for clarifications. They also tend to focus on the emotional aspects and try to understand the message as clearly as possible. Ultimately, this approach can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings.

5. People-oriented Listening

People-oriented listeners are interested in the speaker's background and beliefs. They often ask questions about what motivates the speaker and their goals or desires. They are also concerned with the facts and figures. Also, they may quickly cut people off, whereas action-oriented listeners may take more time to conclude if the information is complex.

6. Informational Listening

When we listen to information, we engage in a highly active process that involves concentration, critical thinking and acceptance of responsibility. As we listen to information, we become more adept at identifying and understanding its meaning.

Learning informational listening skills is particularly useful for new workers and people in business settings. In addition, it can make us more fulfilled at home, too. This chapter will explain the different types of listening styles.

This style requires listening to take into account the thoughts of others while forming a shared understanding. People who use this style are good at taking input from speakers and developing ideas based on those ideas.

They are especially effective in conversations with colleagues or partners. Informational listening can be difficult to master, though it can be a useful tool for improving communication skills

7. Biased Listening

Biased listening involves minimal participation from the listener. They listen to important information without asking questions or offering their opinions. People who practice this style often think they are not listening well and aren't empathetic. This style can also hurt relationships because it can reinforce one's bias for future communications. This type of listening is most effective when paired with other listening styles.  

8. Critical Listening

The term "critical" has multiple meanings; however, in this instance, it's simply saying that you're evaluating data but not necessarily judging. Critical listening refers to the method of listening that listeners use when trying to evaluate and analyse the complexity of the information being conveyed to them.

It is possible to use critical listening when you're working on a problem-solving job and need to determine whether you appreciate the idea being presented by one of your colleagues or not. 


Knowing your listener's listening style will help you adjust to situations that require the opposite type of listening. Women and men have different attention styles. Men are known for separating bits of information and directing their energy to a goal. On the other hand, women are reported to be more empathic and emotional. 

Women tend to focus on details and patterns. Both genders may hear the same message despite the differences, but their attention styles are different. Therefore, it is important to identify the type of listening style that best suits you. 

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Q: Which are the different types of listening skills?


Following are the most important listening skill types that you must understand for a good conversation.

  • Pay attention.
  • Respond appropriately.
  • Provide feedback.
  • Show that you're listening.
  • Defer judgement.

Q: What are the advantages of listening skills?


  • It can assist you in resolving conflict.
  • Active listening can build trust and strengthen relationships.
  • Active listening helps you don't miss essential information.
  • It can help you to be more knowledgeable during the conversation.
  • Active listening permits you to identify or anticipate issues.

Q: What is the importance of listening in communication?


Listening is highly important to accurately understand the message a person wants to say during the communication process.

Q: What is the importance of listening skills?


It can assist you in navigation via tough conversations. Also, it assists you in improving your entire communications.

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