Appreciative listening is a type of listening behavior where the listener seeks certain
information which will appreciate, for example that which helps meet his/her needs and goals.
One uses appreciative listening when listening to good music, poetry or maybe even the stirring
words of a great leader.
It involves listening to music that one enjoys, people the listener likes to listen to because of their
style and the choices the listener make in the films and television he/she watches, radio
programmes and plays and musicals in the theatre. Unlike informative listening or relationship
listening, appreciative listening does not rely on the message from the speaker it is how one
responds as a listener. Our appreciation of what we hear will vary depending on our individual
tastes, but will also be affected by three different factors:
There are many different factors that encompass presentation including the medium, the setting
and the style and personality of a presenter. Of course this works both ways and equally you will
have been entranced by others because of the force of their personality and their delivery style.
The environment can also impact your appreciation of the presentation. Seating, temperature,
clarity and volume of sound will all impact on whether it’s a good or poor experience.
Perception is an important factor in appreciative listening. As one is exposed to different
experiences his/her perceptions can change. For example: individual's taste in music. We need to
listen to various types of music to have a preference over other types and appreciate them. An
individual's expectations also affects our perception.
An individual's perception and expectations are driven by his/her attitudes which determine how
he/she reacts to and interact to the world in which he/she lives.
Some of our perceptions are clearly influenced by our previous experience and impact on
whether or not we enjoy listening to something, or whether we are even willing to listen.
Whether our memories evoke pleasant or unpleasant reminders will affect our appreciation.
However, it’s important to remain open to new experiences. We can develop our appreciative
listening skills.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Appreciative Listening
The main purpose of appreciative listening is to get enjoyment and pleasure. Examples includes listening
to recordings of songs, entertaining stories, jokes, anecdotes and so on. The output may be taking part
in the entertainment process. For example, a music lover may listen to the latest hit, pick up the tune
and try to sing along.
The Benefits of Empathic Listening
Empathic listening (also called active listening or reflective listening) is a way of listening and
responding to another person that improves mutual understanding and trust. It is an essential skill
for third parties and disputants alike, as it enables the listener to receive and accurately interpret
the speaker's message, and then provide an appropriate response. The response is an integral part
of the listening process and can be critical to the success of a negotiation or mediation. Among
its benefits, empathic listening
builds trust and respect,
enables the disputants to release their emotions,
encourages the surfacing of information, and
creates a safe environment that is conducive to
collaborative problem solving.
"When the final session
ended, the leader of the
bolted across the floor,
clasped the mediator's hand
and thanked him for being
Though useful for everyone involved in a conflict, the ability and 'different from the others.'
willingness to listen with empathy is often what sets the mediator 'How was I different?' Chace
apart from others involved in the conflict.
asked. 'You listened,' was the
reply. 'You were the only one
who cared about what we
Empathetic Listening is a technique which can help you manage and avoid disruptive and
assaultive behaviors. The foundation of the technique can be summarized in 5 simple steps.
1. Provide the speaker with your undivided attention.This is one time “multi-tasking” or
“rapid refocus” will get you in trouble.
2. Be non-judgemental. Don’t minimize or trivialize the speakers issue.
3. Read the speaker. Observe the emotions behind the words. Is the speaker angry, afraid,
frustrated or resentful. Respond to the emotion as well as the words.
4. Be Quiet. Don’t feel you must have an immediate reply. Often if you allow for some
quiet after the speaker has vented, they themselves will break the silence and offer a
5. Assure your understanding. Ask clarifying questions and restate what you perceive the
speaker to be saying.
Following these procedural steps will place you in a better situation for addressing the key issue.
Empathetic listening is paying attention to another person with empathy [emotional
identification, compassion, feeling, insight]. One basic principle is to "seek to understand, before
being understood. Another basic principle is to connect emotionally with another person while
simultaneously attempting to connect cognitively. An excellent technique to help one connect
cognitively is called "active listening" whereby you repeat back to the person what you think she
or he said to make certain you understand. A technique to connect emotionally is to ask how the
person feels about the situation or perhaps to make a statement about how you believe the person
For example, a student might say, "My dog got hit by a car this morning." An active listening
response might be, "Your dog got hit by a car?" or "Was it hurt?" Another response might be, "I
can see this has upset you. Do you want to talk about it?" Whatever the response, it is intended to
clarify the facts or information being presented [obtain understanding] and to identify and
respond to the emotions or feelings of the other person.
Empathy is not sympathy. Whereas sympathy is "feeling for someone," empathy is "feeling as
The most important issue about empathetic listening in a classroom setting is when to use it. The
general rule is that teachers have a right to teach and students have a right to learn. When the
teacher and student can engage in a dialogue that does not violate their individual rights or the
rights of others, then empathy is certainly appropriate. However, when either a student or another
person is attempting to engage in a dialogue that is disruptive and violates the rights of the
teacher and/or students, then the teacher needs to be assertive and bring the class back to order.
An example might be helpful. During my first year of teaching I focused quickly on classroom
management and keeping an orderly, though engaging, classroom. Rules were posted and most
students were reasonably well-behaved. One morning towards the end of October, I began to feel
a little queasy during my 45-minute commute to school. By the time school started, I knew I was
in trouble. I tried to "tough it out," but about half-way through my first period class I just had to
leave. And leave quickly.
About 10 minutes later, after I had washed the bad taste out of my mouth and put some cool
water on my face, I walked back into the classroom to find one of my male students standing in
the back of the room throwing an eraser to another male student who was running a down-andout pattern in the front of my room. Needless to say I was not happy. I sternly ordered them back
to their desks and did my best to stay in the classroom for the remainder of the class period.
As the bell was ringing and the other students filed out, I had both students stay behind. In a
fairly gruff, coach-like manner I said something like, "What in the blazes do you guys think you
were doing?" Both of these young men were stars on the eighth-grade football team and I was
completely caught off guard when one of them burst into tears.
After quickly dismissing the other student, I quietly asked the one who was crying, "What's
wrong." He told a story of his father having been fired from work several months ago, of his
drinking and fighting with everyone in the house, how the sheriff had come to the house telling
his parents that they would have to leave if they didn't pay their mortgage, and so forth. By this
time students from the next class were coming in so I escorted him down to the counselor's office
where he might discuss the situation a little more privately.
The principle of empathetic listening versus assertiveness is exemplified by my obtaining order
first, getting the students back to work, and then dealing with the situation in a way that did not
disrupt my right to teach or other students rights to learn. Empathy is a very important and useful
method of communication, but it must be used appropriately in a classroom situation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Active (Reflective) Listening: is the skill of listening closely and reflecting back the information to the
Comprehensive listening: is necessary for individuals to understand the message. This includes
differentiating between vocal sounds in order to comprehend the emotional content of the message.
Appreciative listening: allows individuals to listen for entertainment or enjoyment, such as when we
listen to poetry or music.
Critical (Evaluative) listening: is used to evaluate a message before accepting or rejecting it.
Listening: the process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or