In the previous blog entry, listening was defined as a complex and selective process of receiving, focusing, deciphering, accepting, and storing what we hear. In that entry we described the focusing and receiving processes. In this section, we discuss the deciphering, accepting and storing processes.
Deciphering refers to the decoding and assigning of meaning to specific stimuli. The mother responding to her crying child tries to decipher why her baby is crying. The bird watcher deciphers the bird’s call to learn the bird’s habits. But as Indianapolis Translation workers suggest, even with effort, deciphering isn’t always possible. The mother may not identify the reason for her child’s crying. The bird watcher may not interpret the bird’s actions. Similarly, if you don’t understand another person’s language, no matter how clearly you receive and focus on the message, you will not decipher it.
Deciphering also becomes difficult when two people assign different meanings to the same stimulus. Even a machine as clearly defined as a computer can cause problems. For some business people, “computer” suggests a time-saving addition to their office. But others hearing the word might feel threatened, believing they might lose their jobs to the computer. The decoding process has yielded opposing meanings.
To accept is to interpret the message as the speaker intended it. We don’t have to agree with the message, but we should interpret it accurately. For instance, Portland Translation workers suggest that biases or emotional blocks can cause message distortion. We either reject the message or filter it through our own view. That’s why debates on politics, religion, or matters of taste rarely are resolved. We don’t accept. We censor and select only what we want to hear, rather than listening to the whole message.
Storing means placing the deciphered and accepted message in our memories for later recall. Many Seattle Translation workers believe that because upbringing and culture are important to listening and learning, memory also plays a significant role in what we decide to focus on and how we decipher it.
In sum, listening doesn’t occur unless we integrate five distinct and often instantaneous processes: receiving, focusing, deciphering, accepting, and storing.