Difference Between Active Listening and Argumentative Listening

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If the participants use “active” and “reflective” listening most arguments could be avoided. Most arguments start since one or both of the participants are not listening empathically and non-judgmentally.

Here are the disparities between active listening (conflict-free) and argumentative listening (with potential conflicts).

1. The active listener listens to the content. The argumentative listener filters the content

The active listener does not judge the content of what is said. If she is listening to a business presentation that uses facts and figures, she mentally or physically notes the content (facts, figures, words, ideas) and then, after getting the entire message, decides on her response.

The argumentative listener filters the same information, choosing the content that she agrees or disagrees with and, prior to getting the whole message, forms a conclusion and a response, typically a rebuttal.

2. The active listener listens to the intent. The argumentative listener filters and judges the intent

The active listener considers the intent of the speaker impartially when she responds to the whole message. The argumentative listener filters and judges the intent and makes assumptions about the speaker and the message. She bases her response, more often than not a rebuttal, or argument, on this biased understanding of the intent of the speaker.

For example, an active listener can identify various ploys used by a politician to trigger an emotional response, but the active listener refrains from making a positive or negative judgment. In the. Same situation, an argumentative listener may focus on the politician’s attempts to influence the audience and respond negatively.

3. The active listener assesses the speaker’s nonverbal communication. The argumentative listener responds to the speaker’s nonverbal communication

The active listener uses the speaker’s nonverbal communication to recognize the complete message. The argumentative listener reacts to the speaker’s nonverbal communication emotionally rather than intellectually.

4. The active listener observes her nonverbal communication and filters. The argumentative listener does not observe her nonverbal communication and filters

Since the active listener is reacting to the whole message, she is careful to manage the message she is sending to the speaker nonverbally. She is also responsive to her own emotional and mental filters. The argumentative listener simply reacts emotionally. She does not attempt to manage her nonverbal communication or filters.

5. The active listener listens to the speaker non-judgmentally and with compassion. The argumentative listener judges and evaluates the speaker.

The active listener attempts to recognize the speaker’s position and message. She realizes that listening empathically and non-judgmentally keeps communication channels open. The argumentative listener judges and evaluates the speaker by her own standards, her own agenda.

Posted in: Communication Skills

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