Listening is a complex ability, involving the coordination of multiple cognitive processes. As such, listening is not a single, isolated skill, but rather a complex of psychological processes that can be isolated and developed.

This means that there are a number of practices that will help someone listen better. The key is to find the practices that give you “the most bang for the buck.”

The key distinction to be made is which “domain” of listening you wish to emphasize: comprehension, interpretation, or response (Wang & Dahler, 2017; Rost, 2016; Calkins, Ehrenworth & Lehman, 2012). These three processes – comprehending, interpreting, and responding – can be seen as representing the essential domains of listening: objective, subjective, and interactive (See Figure 1). 

, Defining the three domains of listening, Lateral Communications
© 2021 Michael Rost/Lateral Communications

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