Your life journey is a lonely one some times but most times you have to walk along with someone. A lonely life journey is not fruitful because we are not created to be loners and hermits. As you walk along your life path or road, you need to learn how to listen. Listening is an art and a science but studies have shown that many people do not know how to listen. If they do, most wives will not keep complaining about their husbands not listening to them. Also many individuals will not keep complaining about others not willing to listen to them. The questions are : HOW DO YOU LISTEN? ARE YOU A GOOD LISTENER? DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS TO LISTEN TO OTHERS OR LISTEN TO YOURSELF?WHEN YOU LISTEN,DO YOU KNOW THE PROCESSES INVOLVED? HOW CAN YOU BECOME AN EFFECTIVE LISTENER?
One of the factors that affect relationship building and communication is the level of listening. Listening is hearing what is said and understanding it. It is the ability to understand how a particular sentence in a speech relates to what has been said and its function in communication. A scholar described listening as having three stages; Hearing, Listening and Auding. Hearing is the physical process of receiving and modifying sound waves in the ear. It depends on individual’s ability to locate the source of sound and focus and receive auditory input. Listening refers to awareness of speech sounds and the processing of those sounds into meaningful units. It involves ability to analyse, organise and associate sounds in relation to the solution and experience. It demands active involvement from the hearer. In order to reconstruct the message that the speaker intends, the hearer must actively contribute knowledge from both linguistic and non-linguistic sources. Majority of utterances that we hear in our daily life could be conceived as carrying different meanings in different circumstances and it is only because we are generally able to relate them to a single appropriate meaning. Auding is a term used to indicate a higher level of mental involvement that results in understanding or feeling. In auding one transfers the flow of words into meaning, using full range of critical thinking skills. It is also the ability to relate what is heard to one’s perception, background and experiences in order to make meaning of what is heard. More time is spent in listening than in any other language activity. It has been said that we listen to a book a day, talk a book a week, read a book a month and write a book a year.Listening is a passive and receptive skill and it is sometimes difficult to know whether people are listening to something or not.
Listening demands active involvement from the hearer. In order to reconstruct the message that the speaker intends, the hearer must actively contribute knowledge from both linguistic and non-linguistic sources. For example, it is only by applying his knowledge of the language that he can divide the continuous stream of sound into meaningful unit and it is only accompanying these units with the shared knowledge between himself and the speaker that he can interprete their meaning. For instance a single word such as “Ready?” Might have the force of an invitation to come to eat in some situations but a totally different meaning in others. Likewise, the communication value of “why don’t you close the door?! “Depends on the situation and social relationship. In fact, the majority of utterances that we hear in daily life could be conceived as carrying different meanings in different circumstances and it is only because we are actively involved in the communication process that we are generally able to relate them to a single appropriate meaning. However, listening is a skill that needs to be developed and cultivated. How do you cultivate listening and how do you become a good listener? To be a good listener, you need to have a knowledge of different types of listening that exist.