The Listening Process:

Individuals tend to listen best to messages that interest them. However, even when people want to listen to a speaker, their emotions often can get in the way of the message. Many people mistakenly believe that listening well is an activity that ”just happens,” and they do not realize that there is an actual process to follow when listening. The listening process allows individuals to understand the significance of a message, question its validity, and respond to a speaker. This process can prevent conflicts, eliminate detrimental rumors, and prevent wasted time.

The listening process consists of three steps:

  • Interpreting the message:

The first step of the listening process is to interpret the message. To do so, you have to reach agreement with the speaker about the meaning of his or her message.

  • Evaluating the message:

In the second step of the listening process, you evaluate the message. Before making a decision about what they have heard, good listeners verify that they have all of the necessary information; they ask questions to clarify the facts, examine the data, and consider all of the information before evaluating the message.

  • Providing feedback:

The third step of the listening process is providing feedback to the speaker. As a listener, your job is not only to actively listen to the speaker, but also to respond to him. You are responsible for providing feedback by telling the speaker what you heard in the message. By responding to the speaker, you can verify that the message you heard is the one the speaker intended. If you did interpret and evaluate the message correctly, you and the speaker will have a chance to reach a common understanding. This helps ensure that successful communication will take place.

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