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19 January, 2016 - 15:28

Listening is obviously an important part of communication. There are three main types of listening. Competitive or combative listening happens when we are focused on sharing our own point of view instead of listening to someone else. Inpassive listening, we are interesting in hearing the other person and assume we hear and understand what the person says correctly, without verifying. In active listening, we are interested in what the other person has to say and we are active in checking our understanding with the speaker. For example, we may restate what the person has said and then verify our understanding is correct. The feedback process is the main difference between passive listening and active listening.

Figure 9.3  Active listening involves four phases] 

Key Takeaways

  • Emotional intelligence can be improved over time, unlike IQ, which stays stable throughout life.
  • Emotional intelligence includes knowing and managing your emotions, motivating yourself, recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions, and managing relationships.
  • There are four types of communication at work: downward, upward, horizontal, and diagonal. All types of communication can happen at once, especially with the use of blogs and social networking sites.
  • Companies that use good communication tend to have less turnover and less absenteeism.
  • There are four main types of communication styles: expresser, driver, relater, and analytical. The better we can understand our own style of communication and the communication styles of others, the easier it will be to communicate with them.
  • Passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive behaviors are not healthy ways of communicating. Assertive behavior, on the other hand, respects one’s own rights and the rights of others.
  • Nonverbal communication is one of the most important tools we can use to communicate how we feel. Watching others’ body language can give us signals as to how they may really feel.
  • Listening is also an important part of communication. Active listening occurs when we are interested in what the other person has to say, and we check with the speaker to make sure we understand what they have said. Competitive or combative listening is when we are focused on sharing our own point of view.Passive listening is when we listen to someone, but do not verify that we understand what someone is saying.


  1. Learn more about your EI by going to and taking the test. Then answer the following questions:
    1. What did the test say about your EI?
    2. What are some things you can do to improve your EI? What strategies might you use to improve your EI?

Which communication style, the expresser, driver, relater, or analytical, do you typically use? How can you get better at understanding other people’s style and get comfortable communicating in their style?

Do you tend to be passive, assertive, or aggressive? Give an example of when you used each style and discuss the result.

Take a few hours and watch the body language of the people in your workplace or personal life. Pay careful attention, really being aware of body language. What was the situation? What kinds of body language did they show?