Message-Based Listening (n.) - The ability to listen to the content and meaning of what is being said without emotionally reacting to how that message is being delivered. Message-based listening pays attention to the underlying expressed need in the communication as opposed to the actual words or tone being used. People untrained in reducing their emotional reactivity often struggle with this skill and respond (or react) to the speaker's surface message and method of delivery.
Example #1: Paul rudely demands that he be given a raise. His words and tone are angry and accusatory. His boss pauses, internally rephrases what Paul said with neutral words and tone, and then responds in a genuine way to the actual message being conveyed.
Example #2. Mindy yells at her husband, Bob, and demands he tell her why he didn't respond to her text right away. She accuses him of being with another woman. Bob hears past the yelling and immediate content and instead translates her words and tone into what it really is - a need to be validated and reassured. He responds to this need for validation and reassurance rather than the actual words spoken.
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