Listening is an essential factor that facilitates how information is perceived and either compromises or encourages data retention. However, the concept of listening is complex since there are contrasting characteristics between listening and hearing. While hearing is a physical activity in which the eardrums perceive the vibrations facilitated by a particular sound, listening is based on receiving information and processing it by being engaged in the process. Thus, one is a process that does not require effort since it is a given, and the other correlates with the person’s willingness to perceive the information being shared.
Now that the fact that in order for a person to listen, it is necessary to engage in the process actively has been established, it is essential to point out the techniques that facilitate information retention or evaluation. Active listening is usually linked to the desire of an individual to learn new information, feel an emotion, or exercise specific professional skills. However, it is certain that certain information does not create circumstances in which a person is willing to put effort into understanding it actively. This may be linked to the content itself or the manner in which the content is being presented. However, if an individual loses interest while listening, the results are negative. Thus, certain techniques can be applied to minimize such risks.
Focused listening helps better the process of hearing and retaining information for the purpose that is individual for one who wants to participate in the conversation. Thus, focused listening may be described as the ability to understand the main points and the evidence and perceive the technique in which information is shared. In order for a person to learn how to listen more efficiently, there are multiple techniques that can be integrated.
For example, improving note-taking skills help individuals focus on essential points and narrow the data that is to be retained. Another facilitator of focused listening is to resist distraction. This means focusing on the person sharing the information without paying attention to the things happening in the background. Moreover, it is vital to suspend judgment since this helps become objective without disrupting the perception with personal overviews and opinions.
In order for focused listening to be a more transparent concept, it is crucial to define the characteristics of poor listening. Oftentimes, poor listening is facilitated by a lack of concentration on the subject. Thus, the person is not engaged because of personal thoughts that create an environment in which the shared content is being ignored. On the other hand, listening too hard may also disrupt the process since focusing on the act of listening rather than on the information creates a dissonance in results. Another possible negative implication is jumping to conclusions, which is why being objective is vital. Furthermore, the content itself can be missed if the listener is focused on the appearance (the tone of the voice or catchphrases).
Types of Listening
There are different types of listening that depend on the listener’s objective correlating with the content that is being shared. For example, critical listening is the type that is linked to the evaluation of the information. For example, researchers mention critical listening for students regarding deduction, interpreting data, and analyzing it (Basyoni et al. 60). Thus, the listener can perceive information and give feedback or determine whether it is adequate or not. Another type is comprehensive listening, which can also be applied to students regarding their understanding of what is being told. Empathetic listening is based on the listener’s aim to provide support after hearing and interpreting a thought that is being externalized.
Researchers mention this technique to be useful in regards to employee satisfaction increased by supervisors’ empathetic listening to their professional concerns (Jonsdottir and Kristinsson 9). Appreciative listening is one more category that illustrates the aim of listening for enjoyment. This may be exemplified by referring to an individual hearing a congratulatory speech when receiving a new job or celebrating a birthday. These are certain categories that differentiate the types of listening based on the objective of the listeners.
In conclusion, listening is a process rather than a physical attribute such as hearing. The different types of listening (such as critical, comprehensive, empathetic, and appreciated) imply the various objectives that a listener has in regard to the information that is being expressed. Multiple factors can facilitate poor listening, and a person’s inability to concentrate, be objective, and focus on the content facilitates poor content retention. On the other hand, individuals who resist distractions, take notes and focus on essential parts of the information facilitate focused listening, which ultimately leads to high retention and adequate information perception. Applying this technique is not only helpful in remembering data and being attentive but also creates circumstances in which the person can fully engage in a conversation or listening process.
Basyoni, Ahmed, et al. “The Effectiveness of Using Students’ Created Digital Storytelling in Enhancing Saudi Ninth Graders’ Critical Listening Skills.” Journal of Education and Social Sciences, vol. 16, no. 1, 2020, pp. 58–72.
Jonsdottir, Inga Jona, and Kari Kristinsson. “Supervisors’ Active-Empathetic Listening as an Important Antecedent of Work Engagement”. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, no. 21, 2020, pp. 1-11. Web.