Not all listening occurs at the same level, therefore, nor does all listening require the same skill. There are four levels worth discussing briefly:-
1 The first level involved making sense out of sound and distinguishing words. It is more an “awareness – think of driving with the radio on, for example.
2 At the second level, understanding begins. The listener concentrates on what is being said – and semantic differences begin to arise here, more of which later.
3 The third level involved distinguishing fact from fancy and so requires some analysis on the part of the listener, dependent on his knowledge, IQ, past experience etc. Perceptions begin to play an important role here.
4 The highest level, which requires the greatest amount of skill and concentration, involves the added dimension of empathy, enabling the listener to understand what is being said from the SPEAKER’S point of view.