How does tactical listening compare to strategic listening?

Expert Answers
belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tactical Listening is a type of active listening, in which all conversational topics are taken into account before crafting a response. This can be a long or slow process. The main point behind tactical listening is to avoid skipping ahead and ignoring the points made by the other person.

Strategic Listening is a type of comprehensive listening, in which the message of conversation is analyzed at all possible levels. The main point behind strategic listening is to make sure no implied message is lost.

Both of these listening techniques are helpful in day-to-day life and in business communications. Between private citizens, tactical listening is more useful, as people have a tendency to assume or predict the flow of conversation and so respond more to their own ideas and biases than to their conversational partner's thoughts. Tactical listening allows a person to consider what is actually being said vs. what they think will be said, and so avoid making incorrect assumptions or speaking thoughtlessly.

In business, strategic listening is useful for the vast numbers of memos, letters, proposals, and press releases generated by daily business activity. By taking each message as it is written and analyzing it along four general lines -- fact, meaning, feeling, intention -- the totality of a message can be understood and acted upon. This also allows a certain leeway when there is room for interpretation; by analyzing the message before action, more avenues of action can be determined.