1. Passive Listening:

Passive listening refers to inert or indifferent listening. There is no conscious effort to receive and absorb the message. Quite often, passive listening stops at hearing and there is no effort to further process the message. The listener is physically present but is not participating actively in the process of communication. Listening in this instance is insufficient.

The message is not absorbed and the passive listener will not be in a position to remember and recall the message at a future date. Passive listening takes place when the listener or receiver is constrained by various physiological and psychological factors. It may be fatigue, ill health, disregard for the speaker or lack of interest in the subject.

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It also occurs when the speaker fails to meet the receiver’s wavelength. Passive listening leads to misunderstanding on the part of the communicator who would be under the impression that the receiver has grasped the message as intended.

2. Selective Listening:

Another type of listening that is quite common is selective listening.

Listening is done partially or selectively. People listen to only that which they want to listen to. Under this type of listening, the receiver keeps tuning in and out. Attention is not focused. The listener lets the mind wander and the message is not thoroughly processed. Selective listening takes place when the receiver is not in a position to concentrate, or considers the speaker to be not so well informed on certain matters, or the receiver considers himself to be better informed than the communicator or such other reason which hinders active listening.


Active Listening:

Active listening is the most desirable type of listening. In this case, the listener makes conscious efforts to listen attentively, decode the message and absorb it through a participative process. The receiver of the messages shows regard for the speaker concentrates on what is being conveyed, motivates and prompts the speaker, shows empathy and makes it easy for the speaker to meaningfully deliver the message. When we talk of listening skills, what is meant is the ability to listen effectively? When one listens actively, one not only comprehends the message, but is also in a position to remember and recall the same as and when required.