Sometimes it’s hard to listen. You may feel like your co-workers just keep going on and on. It can be exhausting.

Listening effectively is hard work. The heart rate quickens, respiration increases, and your body temperature rises. Just like a stress response, it can be physically and psychologically draining.

The process of listening involves a sequence of 6 exhausting stages:

  • Motivation – The listener must create the motivation and desire to listen, which is tough when you believe you’ve heard it all before.
  • Stimulus – As a listener, you receive not only auditory stimuli, but also visual stimuli. It’s what you hear and see.
  • Attending – The listener concentrates on the message received in order to store it for later use, focusing on what the information relates to.
  • Interpreting – The listener considers the verbal and nonverbal messages and analyzes the message for the proper meaning.
  • Responding – After a message has been interpreted by the listener, he/she must responder to it in some way. Even no response is still a response.
  • Remembering – The ability to recall the information by having a system and a process that helps you retain and to also be able to explain the information later.

Yes, there are 6 exhausting stages of listening. You are right to think that listening is tiring. If you focus on improving your performance in each of these stages of listening and become just a little more effective in each stage, you will move from being an adequate listener to becoming an active listener.

If you want to learn more on sharpening your listening skills, Kit Welchlin’s presentation on effective listening. Don’t forget to check back next Monday for another Video Blog.