It is important to apply critical thinking skills, however, people might start to think you’re kind of critical.

Critical listening is valuable and centers on understanding a message and evaluating it. Then determining whether to accept or reject the message based on a standard of judgment upon which to conduct a careful analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of a position or decision.

However, there are different levels of listening.

Discriminative listening is when a person listens for the purpose of distinguishing sound or visual differences, like a mechanic opening the hood of your car or taking a test drive.

Comprehensive listening is when the listener’s objective is to understand the information or material, like back in high school or in college to pass the test.

Therapeutic Listening is when a listener acts as a soundboard for a person to talk out a problem, like a friend, a colleague, or a counselor.

Appreciative listening is when a person listens to something to gain pleasure or an impression of the material, like music or your favorite motivational speaker.

So much of our communication behavior is a pattern. Some researchers claim that nearly 80% of our communication behavior is automatic. We are kind of like giant jukeboxes. When people push our buttons, we reach up, grab a record, and give it a spin. We need to pause, scratch the record, and choose how to respond rather than react.

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