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 and they listen. They talk and you listen. Although it might seem to be a simple process; listening can be broken down into five components of listening: receiving, understanding, remembering, evaluating and responding.
Active Listening Involves Receiving
The first of the five elements of listening is maybe the most simple: receiving. This element of listening consists of being heard or receiving. 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 that are hearing-impaired.
Attending to Listening
Once a message is heard, it must be attended which means that it requires attention to be “listened” to. In today’s busy world, information often goes in one ear and out the other. In a face-to-face conversation, listening may be limited because of distracting outside factors. To effectively listen, the object of desire must be the sole object under observation. Otherwise the risk of not attending to the task of listening is high.
Understanding What Active Listening Involves
The next stage of active listening involves 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.
Communication by Response
After understanding, the next step in the five parts of active critical listening is a response. 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 Throughout The Listening Process
Most active listening involves remembering 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 so that an appropriate response can take place. Otherwise, the entire point of communicating might have been without purpose and communication can stall. The remembering stage of listening does also take place on an exact level like in the case of remembering phone numbers or names.
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