Styles of Listening

Just as there are different types of listening, depending upon the context of the situations, there are also different styles of listening. The styles of listening can be interchangeable depending upon the situation. More often than not we as competent communicators will adjust and switch our styles of listening depending upon the context of the situation. First we need to define what a listening style is before we define the different types of styles. A listening style is “a set of attitudes and beliefs about listening ” (Floyd 136). There are four different styles of listening: People – Oriented, Action – Oriented, Content – Oriented, and Time – Oriented. You might have a dominant style that can be seen in multiple occasions, but you can adjust or orientate to the situation.

People- Oriented

If you are a people – oriented listener you are able to tune into people’s emotions, feelings, and moods (Bodie and Worthington 70). You relate more to relationship building when listening to someone communicate with you. You try to find common interests with the other person.

Action- Oriented

This type of listener values clear, organized, and error free messages. If you are listening to a presentation, you will most likely notice errors and inconsistencies through the presentation. An example of an action – oriented listener is: Nancy likes it when her assistant presents her daily activities in a clear, easy to follow, and straightforward manner. If they are delivered any other way Nancy gets frustrated.

Content- Oriented

This style of listening is for individuals who favor technical information. They enjoy complex and challenging information. This type of listener listens to all the information being presented before forming any sort of judgments. An example of a content – oriented listener would be one that enjoys listening to presidential debates because they make him/her think about their own political views.

Time- Oriented

If you are efficient with your use of time then you are a time- oriented listener. When you are communicating with someone you want the person to get to the point of their story quickly. This type of listener is not concerned with details. If you had to go to the emergency room and see a doctor, the doctor wants you to get to the point of the matter so he/she can do a proper diagnosis quickly before moving on to the next patient.