What is superficial listening? (+13 other types)

In this article, we will talk about superficial listening; the importance of verbal and non-verbal language; the key aspects of active listening and about 13 other types of listening. 

What is superficial listening?

Superficial listening means listening without paying attention. You can hear what the other person is saying, but your attention is somewhere else. Hearing records the sound waves of the other’s voice.

You may be listening to someone and at the same time be thinking or doing something else.

  You don’t need to pay attention to hear. Superficial listening, therefore, is a passive act.

There is not just one type, but different types of listening other than the one mentioned above. For example, the relational listening style.

Verbal and non-verbal language

In everyday communication, there are two elements that the person stars in to express themselves and they are verbal and non-verbal language.

Verbal language corresponds to the content of what is said, the words used and their meanings. Nonverbal language is what the body transmits, the face, breathing, the context of communication, as well as the look and tone of voice.

The vocal image that a person projects can make a huge difference in the success that

get in your professional and personal life. The voice is an important thermometer of how a person feels. 

What  irritates us the most when listening to someone:

1. Have a person speak in a low tone.

2. That a person speaks very loudly.

3. Listen to a monotonous voice.

4. The crutches used when expressing themselves.

Rapport and calibration

When, as adults, dads bow and stand at the same height as their children, they establish what is called rapport.

With the word “rapport” we mean spontaneous contact with the emotional relationship, the harmonious synchronization that is established between two people.

Rapport can be established both on the verbal and on the non-verbal plane, that is, on the physical plane.

If there is rapport in your relationships, you will be successful and perhaps you will be considered a charismatic individual.

Calibration is an NLP term that means to accurately recognize what a person feels

by interpreting non-verbal cues. Calibration is the difference between seeing, realizing, and observing. Most people only see the rest. 

Seeing is allowing the eye to record only electromagnetic light waves. So, one may be seeing the eye movements, gestures, and clothing of another person without extracting any meaning from it.

The next level is realizing, which is realizing something, what you are focusing on

your senses take on meaning. Observation is the level where it can already be calibrated because they discover patterns.

Active listening

Some of the keys that promote the ability to actively listen are:

Take care of the physical environment: an inappropriate environment can interrupt listening.

Free our minds: empty our thoughts of our worries and our judgments. Adopt an attitude of acceptance of the other.

Attention: focus on the person and her words, not on us.

Silence: a powerful resource that offers a space to the person who speaks to reconstruct their history and to the listener to interpret and understand the message.

The gaze: connecting with the gaze of the other. Looking into the eyes will establish an emotional bond with the person, although we must be careful not to invade the space, avoiding that it can be aggressive.

Observe beyond words: gestures, non-verbal language, tone of voice, breathing.

The rapport: a kind of dance occurs with the other person. Subtly adopting her body postures and accompanying her in her gestures helps to understand her state and provides the listener with a comprehensive welcome.

Empathy: allows us to capture the reference world of the other person, participating in their experience as if it were our own and transmitting that it has been understood. For that, we have to avoid judgments and mental filters.

Effective use of language: use of techniques such as reformulation, normalization, personalization, asking powerful questions that stimulate the person to seek new resources.

Confidence in the person: considering that all people have sufficient resources to face our lives, even if, at times, they seem to hide.

Other types of listening

Besides superficial listening, which is our main theme for this article, there are other 13 different types of listening.

Discriminative listening – This is the most rudimentary form of listening that we humans are capable of. Discriminative listening is about the vibrations and sounds of the interlocutor’s voice. This type of listening is very important because it communicates the message behind the words. Basically, discriminatory listening helps us to capture emotions from the other person’s voice.

Informational listening – A type of listening to that requires immense concentration. This form of listening is about the ability to receive the information the speaker wants to convey. Informational listening is about learning what you hear.

Comprehensive Listening – A type of listening that we practice almost daily. For example, when you are attending a lecture or you are having a conversation with your friend, you practice comprehensive listening. The purpose of this type of listening is to understand best the message of our interlocutor. 

Therapeutic or Empathic ListeningA type of listening to that prioritizes the mental state, emotions and feelings of the speaker. As an example, you can practice empathic listening when someone gives you advice or asks you for a sensitive issue or topic.

Selective listening – A negative way of listening to someone. This type of listening can often cause conflicts or misunderstandings between people. Selective listening involves filtering the speaker’s message and selecting from what he or she says, a part that affects you or that interests you most.

Rapport listening  – Oftentimes practised by sellers. Their interest is to make you feel important, understood and valuable. Therefore, people who practice listening will do everything they can to please the interlocutor.

Evaluative listening – It occurs when the interlocutor tries to convince us by influencing our attitudes, beliefs or ideas. We listen and evaluate the received message so that we can make the appropriate decisions regarding the received message. Evaluative listening is also called critical listening.

Appreciative listening is one through which we listen without paying

attention, in a relaxed way, seeking pleasure or inspiration. We hear about

entertainment. We don’t actually pay attention. 

Deep listening – It means being fully present and ready to listen to the other person. This form of listening involves empathy, understanding, unconditional respect for the other person.

High integrity listening – It implies that you know how to listen with integrity.

Integrity is the kind of virtue that encompasses a series of moral traits of a person, such as honesty, respect for oneself and others. 

Judgmental listening – It is practised by those who, in communicating with others, spend most of their time analyzing and evaluating what the other person is saying. These people do not shy away from expressing their opinion even if it comes in contention with everything the speaker has said. 

Sympathetic listening – It is somehow resembling empathetic listening.

This type of communication requires special attention to the emotions of the interlocutor. Sympathetic listening allows you to express your emotions about what you hear. 

Relationship listening – It is about the connection that is formed between people when they communicate. The stronger this connection is, the easier the two people can understand each other.

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FAQ about superficial listening

What is superficial listening?

Superficial listening means listening without paying attention. You can hear what the other person is saying, but your attention is somewhere else. Hearing records the sound waves of the other’s voice. You may be listening to someone and at the same time be thinking or doing something else. 

What are the four main causes of poor listening?

The four main causes of poor listening are making comparisons, jumping to conclusions, the need to always be right and constantly finding arguments.

What is empathic active listening?

Empathic active listening is essential in cultivating quality relationships. It creates human connection, closeness, appreciation and affection. Is a type of listening that makes the other feel heard, appreciated and valued. 

What makes a good listener?

A good listener is attentive to his caller. Listen with empathy, understanding, and open-minded ears and ask important questions. A good listener knows that not everything is solved, as if by magic, just by having a conversation. Instead, it takes time and openness.

What is the importance of listening?

Good listening is extremely important in any relationship. By practising active listening you are showing to the other person that you care, that you value their opinion and time. Knowing how to practice good listening is a quality that not many people possess.  

What are the 4 types of listening?

The four types of listening are comprehensive, therapeutic/emphatic, appreciative and critical listening. 

Conclusions

In this article, we talked about superficial listening; the importance of verbal and non-verbal language; the key aspects of active listening and about 13 other types of listening. 

Superficial listening means listening without paying attention. You can hear what the other person is saying, but your attention is somewhere else. We all practised superficial listening at least once in our lives. We all found ourselves thinking about anything other than what the speaker in front of us was talking about. 

Knowing how to listen is not only an attitude, it is also an aptitude, a skill. And one of the most necessary in any area of ​​our life.

As is well known, hearing and listening are not the same. Hearing is a physiological capacity that, if it does not show defects, allows us to predispose ourselves to listen. Having an attitude of listening is taking into account the other, paying attention to hear, wanting to understand and focus on the other person.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know!

Further reading

Active Listening, by Carl R. Rogers

Active Listening: Improve Your Conversation Skills, Learn Effective Communication Techniques: Achieve Successful Relationships: With 6 Essential Guidelines, by Joseph Sorensen 

The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of Distraction, by Rebecca Z. Shafir MA CCC

Emotional Intelligence 2.0, by Travis Bradberry

What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues

Relationship counselling

  • If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.

LGBTQ issues

If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.

References

Active Listening: Improve Your Conversation Skills, Learn Effective Communication Techniques: Achieve Successful Relationships: With 6 Essential Guidelines, by Joseph Sorensen 

Changing Minds – All types of listening

Skillsyouneed.com – Types of listening

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