Let us look at the different types of listening. Understanding these will help you become better at listening. I know myself I am guilty of falling into the trap of evaluative listening.

Transmitter: the person talking or transmitting the message
Receiver: the person receiving the message 'listening'

Marginal

Evaluative

Active

Marginal Listening

Where the person gives an impression of listening, but they are distracted and dip out.

In the diagram below, when you hover over, you can see that they 'dip out' for long periods. Their mind wanders to other topics, for example like:

"What's for tea?", "Did I switch off the lights?" or "I forgot to send that email!"

example of marginal listening

Evaluative Listening

Here the receiver starts to evaluate what the transmitter is saying, and subsequently stops listening. Not necessarily in a bad way, perhaps to support. However they are thinking about their views/opinions/reactions not that of the transmitter.

They may think "Yeah that happened to me once, I remember when .......", et voila they have dipped out!

example of evaluative listening

Active Listening

The receiver focuses on what is being said, and demonstrates they are listening to the transmitter.

They can repeat back what was said by the receiver. They summarise, give strong verbal and non-verbal indications to show they are listening to the transmitter.

example of active listening

Let's now begin to how to show you are active listening

These techniques will help you to speak more confidently in a range of scenarios.

3 people showing how to listen