When in the act of communicating with a fellow person, the majority of the speaking and listening process is performed without conscious effort. You talk, they listen. They talk, you listen. Although it might seem to be one simple and flowing process, listening can be broken down into several core components, including five parts and pieces.

Receiving

Extremely simple and to the point, the first part of listening consists of being heard. If you’re not hearing, you can’t listen; therefore, receiving is the first, easiest and most significant step in the entire listening process. Sometimes hearing is aided by external aids or through means of sign language in those hearing-impaired.

Attending

Once a message is heard, it must be attended to -- meaning that it requires attention to be “listened” to. In today’s world, information often goes in one ear and out the other, especially as most of what is heard comes from TVs, radios and computers, as opposed to person-to-person contact. To effectively listen, the object of desire must be the sole object under observation; otherwise, the risk of not attending properly runs high.

Understanding

As people rely on senses to process the world around them, small details quickly become subjective interpretation. Listening involves taking in and learning new information, meaning understanding can become especially problematic. Some people speak reserved and quietly; others opt for a louder and bolder approach, including enhanced non-verbal movements. Some words contain duplicate meanings, meaning their mistaken identity becomes even easier.

Responding

To effectively signify success in communication to the speaker, a response is required. Usually occurring at the end of a statement or question, responses often consist of casual, non-verbal body movements. Likewise, additional statements or questions are also often brought forth, adding to what the speaker was conveying.

Remembering

Most listening requires remembering -- at least to a degree. To successfully listen, you’re not out to memorize someone’s words word for word; however, the general concept being conveyed needs to be remembered to a degree, otherwise, the entire point of communicating might have been without purpose. Sometimes, remembering must take place on an exact level, such as remembering phone numbers or names.