Listening to others can exhausting.  Coworkers and customers, go on and on and on, and we get so tired of listening to them.  Sometimes it’s hard to listen.

Listening takes effort and considerable energy.  Listening effectively is hard work.

The heart rate quickens, respiration increases, and body temperature rises.  Just like a stress response, it can be physically and psychologically draining.

The process of listening involves a sequence of stages.

The first stage is Motivation.  The listener must create the motivation or desire to listen.  Which is tough – when you believe you have heard all before.

The second stage involves Receiving the Stimulus. Keep in mind, as a listener, you receive not only auditory stimuli but also visual stimuli.  It is what you hear and see.

The third stage requires Attending.  The listener concentrates on the message received in order to store it for later use.  Focusing on what the information relates to.

The fourth stage is Interpreting.  The listener considers the verbal and nonverbal messages and then analyzes the message for the proper meaning.

The fifth stage is Responding.  After a message has been interpreted by the listener, he or she must respond to it in some way.  Even no response…is still a response.

The sixth and final stage is Remembering.  Remembering is the ability to recall information.  Having a system or process that helps you retain and explain later.

If you focus on improving your performance in each of these six stages of listening, and become just a little bit more effective in each stage, you will move from being an adequate listener to becoming an active and effective listener.

If you and your coworkers are struggling with really listening to each other, contact me at and I will provide a speech, seminar, workshop, or a live virtual presentation, that will enhance listening skills and improve relationships.