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The Revision of Listening Styles During Conversation Essay

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Updated: Feb 22nd, 2022


Listening is the art of actively processing, receiving, and responding to spoken words. It involves attention, hearing, understanding, and remembering elements. There are different styles of listening, which are polite, empathetic, active, and critical. This classification is based on politeness, objectiveness, and a standard of judgment given to a conversation (Siddiqui et al., 2019). In addition, one can choose to be an active or inactive listener by responding and channeling thoughts to the speaker. This paper examines the diverse listening types and reflects on my effective listening style.

Listening styles vary based on the attention given to the speaker, empathetic listening is an active form of heeding, which involves recognizing other people’s feelings and being compassionate. It is characterized by a desire to comprehend a word communicated concerning the experiences and emotions portrayed (Umphrey & Sherblom, 2018). The hearer needs to pay attention and be nonjudgmental in this kind of conversation. In the critical type, one needs to understand a talk and evaluate the integrity of what is being said. Thus, it can be used in making wise decisions where options are available.

Polite listening is also a style used when one is not required to respond to the speaker. For example, when a person is venting, one needs to pay attention without agreeing, disagreeing, or disrupting while listening. Additionally, providing supporting cues such as nodding or saying “I see”, giving positive feedback, and maintaining eye contact is necessary for this listening type. In the active style, a person makes an effort to understand what is being discussed, therefore, it involves paraphrasing, and asking for clarification, giving advice or judgment, and reflecting on what is said.

I am an active listener because I usually pay full attention to people speaking. During conversation features such as asking questions, giving both nonverbal and verbal feedbacks, reflecting on what has been said, and being patient and nonjudgmental are exhibited. Asking for clarifications in a conversation has enabled me to avoid misunderstandings which may lead to professional and personal relationship damages (Umphrey & Sherblom, 2018). In addition, the art of paraphrasing what has been said for validation purposes aids in accurately understanding the message being transmitted. In the workplace, this listening style has improved my productivity significantly because I can grasp and retain key information in meetings. Thus, my listening style has been effective in building my career and relationship with others.

On many occasions, I respond with criticism or disapproval when I do not agree with what someone is saying. For this reason, people find it hard to confide or connect with me because I am judgmental sometimes. I need to improve my listening skills to be more accommodative, by being empathetic and not offering unsolicited advice. For instance, when someone is sharing a sensitive issue with me such as violence at home, responses should not be based on my own experiences, instead, a follow-up question about the person’s feelings is appropriate. Therefore, on some occasions being polite rather than an active listener will help in strengthening relationships with others.

Listening is a critical aspect of communication that influences the quality of relationships and job effectiveness. One should be able to obtain, learn, and comprehend information to be a good hearer. Personally, active style is my mode of paying attention, it enables me to gain different perspectives during communication. However, inappropriate responses discourage respect and understanding when heeding. Thus, I need to learn how to be honest, candid, and open while responding to a speaker without attacking or undermining them. Thus, I endeavor to treat other people with honor and assert opinions respectfully for my listening style to be honed.


I once had a miscommunication with my father. He was to pass by his friend’s house after work. I assumed that dad would be at home slightly later than his usual arrival time. My biggest mistake was not asking the exact arrival time, his absence agitated and scared me, I panicked and drove to the friend’s place only to find them having fun.

Dad was furious to see me looking for him, yet he had earlier informed me about his plans. The mistake was mine because I passively listened to him rather than asking for clarification on how long the visit would last. This situation taught me to be an active listener to avoid miscommunication and this lesson showed that to understand others, a deliberate effort to hear spoken words and comprehend the information should be made.


There is no appropriate listening style for all occasions, this is because it depends on situations and place. Therefore, people should also master polite, empathetic, and critical hearing types to be efficient in communication. The key practices, which can be utilized to improve listening skills include responding suitably, deferring judgment, paying attention, and giving feedback. I endeavor to hone my style by applying these techniques when listening to conversations.


Siddiqui, M., Rodriguez, C., Balakumar, A., Prasad, N., Naples, R., Papanagnou, D., & Zhang, X. C. (2019). TF6 How Do You Listen? A Workshop for Medical Students to Reflect on Their Listening Styles. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 74(4), 154-155.

Umphrey, L. R., & Sherblom, J. C. (2018). The constitutive relationship of listening to hope, emotional intelligence, stress, and life satisfaction. International Journal of Listening, 32(1), 24-48.

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