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.” In this article I will outline several that I have found yield the best ROI (“return on investment”).

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 activities – 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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