Steps for Active Listening Process

Active Hearing Process

  • Bernell E. Bryant

Active being attentive is a essential tool of the communication process. Matching to Hallett, "Many of us don't listen as well as we're able to. Active listening helps us make a conscious effort to listen to and understand what people say. "(Hallett). This is a concise explanation for active being attentive as it is vital in understanding what a speaker is trying to convey. It is also an acquired skill that may be developed with repetition since it requires using all of our senses. Active listening has important steps that may easily be utilized by the listener, however, it can often be difficult as a result of "active listening blockers" that may occur.

The overall goal of effective active listening is to provide the speaker undivided attention. In applying active being attentive, the steps included are eye contact, avoiding interruptions, and connections with the presenter. Based on Schilling's views, active listening also contains, "keeping an open up brain, being attentive, and trying to feel the particular speaker is being. "(Schilling)

Steps in Listening Process

There are numerous steps in hearing actively. The most basic steps are the following:

  1. Make Attention Contact

The first rung on the ladder in active tuning in is making eye contact. The listener must first be attentive and peaceful. It might be hard to concentrate on what someone says if the first is troubled, preoccupied, or not sensing right. Since active hearing is interactive, the listener must look at the loudspeaker in the eyes as this is a simple component of effective communication.

  1. Keep an Open up mind

Listen to speaker without prejudice. Usually do not evaluate or criticize what the individual is saying no subject how shocking it may be. Pay attention without jumping to conclusions while refraining from wanting to determine what the presenter will say in advance. Focus on what's being said no subject how uninteresting it might be.

  1. Ask Questions

For better understanding, feel free to ask questions of the presenter. This is essential in improving clarification of the speaker's message. Pennington shows that one should, "maintain an internal dialogue with the loudspeaker and concentrate on the key ideas without getting lost in details. "(Pennington) In instances of counseling or therapy consultations, requesting questions is a very effective tool in providing a basis once and for all feedback.

  1. Be empathetic

Although, this might take a lot of energy and amount, make an effort to feel what the speaker is feeling as he/she talks. Convey that interconnection through facial expressions like smiling, nodding your head or raising an eyebrow every once in awhile. It is imperative to let the speaker know that you have a sense of what they are sensing at that time.

  1. Observe Non-verbal Signs

Oftentimes, what a speaker does not say is merely as important as what he will say. Hence, body gestures is a key component in the tuning in process. Body language displays emotions, motives, and thoughts so it follows that it goes together with changes in facial expressions, gestures, or visible changes in position or body positions. Tabares published that, "an important function of body language is to express our feelings in what we are talking about. "(Tabares). Sometimes the presenter will say one thing, yet the body language is saying another thing. Shrugging shoulders, leaning frontward or overlooking their eyeglasses are only a few presentations of non-verbal communications. Take into account that 70% of your communication is achieved nonverbally (Tabares) so we can assume that nonverbal communication is more appropriate than our genuine words.

Active Hearing Blockers

We have talked about many steps in concluding the active listening process, yet there are still many blockers that keep us from using these steps in the very best manner. Active being attentive blockers are the following:

  1. Environmental issues

Perhaps the room is too frigid or hot, the rainwater has depressed the listener or outside sounds are drowning out the speaker's tone of voice. In any of the instances, rest for better focus and attentiveness must be applied.

  1. Side conversations

When the listener starts talking to others around him, this is a major distraction for both speaker and the listener. The speaker may get sidetracked or discombobulated when others are chatting over him. On the other hand, the listener cannot actively pay attention to the presenter while talking to others. Aside from the simple fact that having side discussions is very rude to the loudspeakers as well as others within the audience.

  1. Non-responsive listener

Being non-responsive is a no win situation for both presenter and listener. Blatantly not concentrating on the loudspeaker by exhibiting unpleasant behavior or by making offensive facial expressions are a complete throw away of time for both presenter and listener. In fact, any intentional, unruly patterns is a major hindrance to the active listening process for any involved. Relating to Young, there are other happenings that serve as blockers in the communication process. Mindreading, filtering, judging, daydreaming, and sparring can also affect the active listening process. (Young) Mindreading entails the listener supposing he knows the actual speaker is being and pondering, but will not know for sure. Filtering occurs when the listeners only grasps relevant information distributed by the speaker and ignores all the rest (aren't we all guilty of that?), judging involves making an assumption about the presenter without understanding them how they really feel. The listener that spars is the one who argues or debates with the loudspeaker, unnecessarily. In this instance, there is absolutely no way the listener can truly receive the speaker's meaning while arguing. Finally, we have all been guilty of daydreaming. We get swept up or preoccupied with other issues, stories whenever we should be listening to what others are saying.

Situations for Dynamic Listening

Without any doubt, there are several situations in which active tuning in steps can be applied. For example, it is necessary in a classroom, training, or any learning environment. Listening is essential to be able to grasp whatever is being taught. Active being attentive techniques can be employed when hearing any teacher, instructor, or facilitator. Since everyone will not learn at the same pace, applying good being attentive steps is a key element for the successful student or trainee.

From a religious standpoint, the priest that listens to personal confessions must listen closely actively. In this kind of situation, the priest must free himself from judging, supposing, or sparing with the individual confessing. In this situation, the priest struggles to see any non-verbal communication by the confessor so he must listen actively. Trust is vital here to the individual confessing. Finally, productive listening is required in group counseling. Each participant has different issues therefore the facilitator must have the ability to hear all of them. Not only will the facilitator have to rely on active tuning in, he also offers to ensure that all participants actively listen to whoever is speaking. And similar to the priest, the facilitator over a group counseling session must not judge or expect or become sidetracked in virtually any manner as he is responsible for assisting everyone present. The confessor trusts that the priest will pay attention to him and recommend him without actually witnessing him.

In conclusion, we have talked about the steps involved in active listening. We now really know what blockers can intercede our effective hearing and the being attentive of others. This information tells us that we are not hearing as well as we're able to. Using the ideas shown here gives us more perception about how exactly important communication is. In addition, it brings recognition to the actual fact that actively listening is our responsibility.


Angeli, E. , Wagner, J. , Lawrick, E. , Moore, K. , Anderson, M. , Soderlund, L. , & Brizee, A. (2010, May 5). Standard format. Retrieved from http://owl. english. purdue. edu/owl/tool/560/0

Hallett, T. Energetic Listening: Hear WHAT FOLKS Are Really Expressing. Retrieved from www. mindtools. com/Hallett 020914

Tabares, J. , The Need for Body Language. Retrieved from http://artofeloquence. com/articles/body-language/copywright2014

Young, S. , Retreived from http://www. getinfrontcommunications. com/10-listening-blocks-of-effective-communication/021014

Schilling, D. , Ten Steps to Effective Being attentive. Forbes. 11/09/2012 Retrieved from http://www. forbes. com/sites/womensmedia/2012/11/09

Pennington, M. , Six Steps to Working Listening. Pennington Posting Blog 011709 Retrieved from http://penningtonpublishing. com/blog/analysis_skills/on 02102014

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