Active vs. Passive Listening: What’s The Difference Between Active and Passive Listening?

Active listening requires the listener to fully engage with the speaker, while passive listening involves minimal involvement. Both have their pros and cons. Read more here to find out their differences.
Active vs. Passive Listening: 7 Key Differences, Pros & Cons, Examples

Active and passive listening are two types of communication. Both of these communication types involve sitting quietly. However, if we look at active vs. Passive listening differences differ in their motivational level, connectivity level, and mental approach.

Let us take a closer look at Active vs. Passive Listening

ProcessActive listening is an interactive process, while passive listening is mechanical.
InvolvesBoth types of communication involve sitting quietly
CommunicationActive listening is two-way communication, while passive listening is one-way.
FeedbackFeedback is only present in active listening

Table of Contents

What Is Active Listening?

What Is Active Listening? Active listening is a formal type of communication in which the listener actively listens to the speaker and then responds to him. Active listening is not just about listening to the person actively, but it also involves showing the verbal and non-verbal signs of listening. This type of communication is used in tutoring, counseling, community organizing, and public interest advocacy.

Active listening is a formal type of communication in which the listener actively listens to the speaker and then responds to him. Active listening is not just about listening to the person actively, but it also involves showing the verbal and non-verbal signs of listening. This type of communication is used in tutoring, counseling, community organizing, and public interest advocacy.

What Is Passive Listening?

What Is Passive Listening? If we look at the definition of Passive listening, it is the type of listening in which the person listens to the other but not with full attention and often distracts himself from the conversation. In this listening, the listener just sits quietly without responding to the speaker. Passive listening is mostly used in listening to music or radio while doing something.

If we look at the definition of Passive listening, it is the type of listening in which the person listens to the other but not with full attention and often distracts himself from the conversation. In this listening, the listener just sits quietly without responding to the speaker. Passive listening is mostly used in listening to music or radio while doing something.

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7 Key Differences between Active Listening and Passive Listening

ComponentsActive ListeningPassive Listening
DefinitionActive listening is a process in which the speaker describes his thoughts, and the listener also has full involvement.Passive listening is a process of just listening to the message without the speaker’s involvement.
ListenerConcentrates and understands the response to the speaker. Thinks about something else while listening to the listener 
Self-ResponsibilityTake responsibility for learning and growth.Avoids the responsibility for problem-solving and learning
Mental ApproachA person in active listening is sharp-minded and reflects on the information. In passive listening, people just accept and retain the information without any intention of the question.
Motivational levelStrongWeek
Will PowerThe active listener is always interested in new ideas and has a strong will.A passive listener is narrow-minded and has zero willpower
Non-Verbal CluesActive listening has non-verbal clues like a change in facial expression, smiling, or rolling eyes.In passive listening, the listener yawns, looks here and there, or is silent to show boredom. 

Active vs. Passive Listening Similarities

  • Whether it’s active or passive listening, both involve sitting quietly and listening to the listener.
  • In both communication types, the listener gets the message or information.
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Active vs. Passive Listening Examples

Active Listening Examples

  • Asking specific questions for clarification.
  • Disclosing the same experience to show interest.
  • Ask open-ended questions.

Passive Listening Examples

  • Listening to music while doing something else.
  • Watching the news on tv while using a cellphone.
  • Listening to someone inattentively and thinking of something else.

Active Listening vs. Passive Listening Pros and Cons

Active Listening Pros and Cons

Active Listening Pros and Cons

Pros of Active listening

  • Active listening provides a better opportunity for the listener to understand things and enhance concentration.
  • Active listening gives confidence to the listener and makes him involved in the conversation.

Cons of Active Listening

  • Active listening takes time and energy and sometimes a lot of time.
  •  Active listening sometimes leads people to use the listener as a “listening post”.

Passive Listening Pros and Cons

Passive Listening Pros and Cons

Pros of Passive Listening

  • In passive listening, a person doesn’t have to be bound to respond to others.
  • Passive listening sometimes relaxes the person as he doesn’t have to concentrate much on the listener’s words.

Cons of Passive Listening

  • Passive listening can leave a bad impression on the speaker.
  • Passive listening can make the person miss out on some important information because he is not listening carefully.

Comparison Chart

Active listening requires the listener to fully engage with the speaker, while passive listening involves minimal involvement. Both have their pros and cons. Read more here to find out their differences

Comparison Video

Active Listening vs Passive Listening: Knowing the Difference Will Make All the Difference

Conclusion

Active and passive listening are both different types of communication. These both involve the listener, speaker, and sitting quietly listener. But if we talk about passive vs. Active listening there are several differences. Especially in the way the listener listens to the person. The main difference between active and passive listening is that in active listening, the listener concentrates and responds to the speaker, while in passive listening, the listener doesn’t have any concentration and listens to the speaker inattentively.

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