Communication means understanding. Hence, in the process of communication, it is not what the sender transmits that derives importance, but what the listener understands. The interpretation of the message by the listener may be wrong. This leads to misunderstandings. However,the understanding of the listener depends upon a whole lot of factors.
Well, the scope of this write up is limited to discussing the traits of different types of listeners.
- Cosmetic listener
The listener who is not at all listening, but gives indication or acts as if he is interested in the information that the sender is passing over. He utilizes his gestures and head nods to create an impression before the sender that he is listening; however, he is not actually listening.
- Passive listener
The listener, who without any gestures or head nods or verbal approvals, listens to the sender is called a passive listener. The sender, may feel, that he is not listening. However, he is a very quiet listener.
- Active listener
The listener who listens with intent and tries to make an earnest effort to understand what the sender has transmitted. He makes head nods and gestures to the sender in approval of his understanding. He may also give verbal approvals and as well summarize his understandings for the sender and ask him to continue.
- Thinking listener
The listener, who listens initially and later slips from listening to thinking mode, preparing how to counter or oppose or disagree or what to talk, in return is called a thinking listener. Thinking listeners, fail to understand in full, the transmitted message.
- Forecasting listener
The listener, who hears something initially and makes an attempt to forecast the conclusion of the message, before it is fully delivered, is called a forecasting listener. The forecasting listener obstructs the communication of the sender, by jumping into early conclusions.
- Filtering listener.
The listener who actively involves and gets enthusiastic while listening to matters that he likes and he who offers a deaf ear when matters that are not of interest to him is being communicated is called a filtering listener.
- Sinking listener
The listener, who listens with a lot of energy in the beginning and who gets lost on account of his unfocussed, wandering mind is called a sinking listener.
- Empathetic listener.
The listener who not only understands what has been said, but the unsaid also. An empathetic listener takes a deeper plunge into understanding the other person’s feelings and emotions, so as to derive a better insight.
The corporate world requires leaders as better listeners to understand and care for their team mates. Hence, leaders need to be active, empathetic listeners.