What is evaluative listening? (A complete guide)

What is evaluative listening? (A complete guide)

In this brief guide, we are going to discuss evaluative listening, what it is and how you can use it in your day to day life.

What is evaluative listening?

Evaluative listening 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.

What is evaluative listening? (A complete guide)

How many times have we made a judgment based on a message? How many times have you said, “Hey, you’re wrong, that’s not right”.

What is the root of this appreciation? I present to you evaluative listening. 

It is when our senses are preparing to evaluate certain information, that is why it is important that we know that evaluative listening requires going beyond understanding.

To evaluate we must consider the judgments and the intention of a message, as well as our own criteria.

Not everyone will always agree with what I say and vice versa.

An important aspect of evaluative listening is to differentiate between facts and words charged with emotion or manifestations, typical of intentionality.

It is always important to focus on the goal of the message.

Assertive behaviour allows us to reflect on the facts and provide objective information, which is the idea of ​​evaluative listening and is not always followed since it is inevitable not to include our own assessments.

Evaluative listening is not the only listening type, others include analytical listening or critical listening.

What is evaluative listening? (A complete guide)

Let’s learn to listen without criticizing

Although evaluative listening involves trying to evaluate one’s message, it doesn’t mean that we are allowed to speak our mind freely without taking into consideration the other person.

One of the most common reasons why conflicts are generated is because we do not know how to listen to the other.

It is sad to admit it, but when criticism is on the tip of the tongue, the bonds of trust deteriorate. 

Whether it is our partner or a coworker who comes to tell us about some painful or complicated event that they lived through in the day, if we respond wrongly, we are making one of the worst mistakes in building good relationships.

So today’s business culture tries to convince us that people, in the work environment, are only called to seek and achieve efficiency, success and money, that is not true.

Many people, if not the majority, not only want to succeed but also feel fulfilled while doing their daily chores. 

Human nature calls for people to find meaning in life through work. And this is achieved not only with the performance of the job itself but through sharing with other people.

If this is positive, the work becomes more satisfactory. Conversely, if relationships are unkind or conflicting, working can become torture.

That is why we should not think that when a coworker or employee looks for us to talk, it is only to talk about some work issue.

Much of communication in business relationships seeks to find emotional support. But how can we avoid reacting negatively when a colleague or employee tells us that they have done something that we don’t like?

Here are some tips that may help:

1. Be emphatic. If we consider that the other person also has emotions and that it has a value beyond her work performance, then we must desire, above all things, her good.

And, this is definitely based on feeling appreciated by those who work with him. 

This does not mean that we will not point out to you that we do not agree with your point of view or your conduct when appropriate, but our goal should be to seek you to be a better person and a better professional. For this, being assertive is the best tool for dialogue.

What is evaluative listening? (A complete guide)

2. Who doesn’t make mistakes? We must apply the maxim of mercy: love your colleague as yourself.

Would you like that when something terrible happens to you, the people you work with yell at you, insult you or criticize you?

Or would you prefer that they accept your problems with serenity and, of course, give you the advice to avoid falling into the same mistake?

It is important for us to realize that none of us is free from being wrong and that we are vulnerable to any kind of fall.

When we listen, let us be humble and recognize that there is another human being in front of us who can also make mistakes, as we often do ourselves.

3. Receiving the right corrections is the best incentive for change. You don’t have to do a great scientific study to discover that a person responds better to change when it is for good.

The hard way we can achieve forced obedience, but not necessarily a behaviour that manifests an internal reflection that invites change. 

Also, let’s do a little self-analysis: isn’t it easier for us to receive a correction positively when it comes from someone we know wants our true good?

So why can we think that the rest does work to shouting and ill-treatment?

4. Doing is not the same as being. Many times we make the mistake of labelling a person for some behaviour.

For example, if we discover that a relative lied, it is not uncommon to tell them: “You are a liar.” 

However, although the repetition of similar behaviours can define a person, it is not advisable to stone them with a “you are like that” because, in this way, we are saying: “I do not believe you capable of changing or improving”. 

Not doing so, especially with a person to whom we must demonstrate leadership, is to close a very good channel in which we can even discover, through constructive dialogue, that there may be deeper causes of error than simple oversight. Suddenly, you are having a difficult time with a colleague or client or at home. 

This, in addition, goes hand in hand with not embarrassing them. We should not make fun of the other or make him feel ridiculous.

It is damaged, I would say, almost irreparable.

What is evaluative listening? (A complete guide)

5. The mistake, sometimes, is enough punishment. Many people come to talk because, in advance, they have already recognized their mistake and the last thing they want is for them to continue to criticize them when they feel bad enough and have already learned from their mistake.

So it is important to listen first, with charity and serenity, without being negative and very understanding.

Other types of listening

Besides evaluative 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 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.

What is evaluative listening? (A complete guide)

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.

Appreciative listening  – Not about communicating with others, but rather about the relationship with ourselves and what we need to do to nourish the mind.

Therefore, appreciative listening is practised when listening to our favourite music, a recorded meditation or a recited speech.

Pseudo or False listening – We all practised pseudo 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.

Pseudo listening is about pretending to be listening when you actually think of something else.

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.

What is evaluative listening? (A complete guide)

Conclusions

In this brief guide, we discussed evaluative listening, what it is and how you can use it in your day to day life.

We also talked briefly about other forms of listening and why are they important. 

If you have any comments or questions let us know.

FAQ about Evaluative listening

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Evaluative listening 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.

What are the 4 types of listening?

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

Is listening profound or comprehensive?

Listening can be both profound and comprehensive. Profound listening implies being attentive and thoughtful about the speaker’s feelings.

Comprehensive listening requires a high degree of attention in order to understand the other person, also. 

What makes a good listener?

A good listener is attentive to his caller.

Listen with empathy, understanding, an open-minded year 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 makes a bad listener?

A bad listener is a person who often interrupts you, does not really hear what you say and does not make an effort to understand your message.

A bad listener will try to force his or her own opinion or an “ideal solution” on you and will quickly change the subject.

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.  

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

References

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 

What is evaluative listening? (A complete guide)

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.