Attending skills in communication (+Top 3)

The current blogspot will be based on the question “what are attending skills in communication?”. We will discuss the various attending skills used in effective communication. We will discuss the importance of attending skills in routine life.

What are attending skills in communication?

Attending is a communication skill that involves paying attention to and observing the verbal and non verbal behaviors of the other person during the communication instead of just focusing on what is being said. Attending skills are necessary for an effective communication process as they enable us to understand what is being said and explore the emotional component of the message being conveyed during the communication process.

Attending skills require us to be consciously engaged in the process of communication. An intentional effort to focus on whatever is being communicated and is being said by the other person using the skills of empathy and regard for the other person is known as attending skills. 

Attending skills in communication are the skills that are related to listening skills and have an effect on the communication skills. Besides listening skills, attending skills are the core component that happen to make a conversation functional and effective.

Attending skills enable us to pay attention to the verbal and non verbal messages that are being conveyed to us during a communication. In the process of communication the attending skills portray that you are mentally and physically present to attend to the needs of the other person in the communication process. 

Attending skills can significantly add to your communication skills as they enable you to depict your empathy and understanding for the other person in the communication process. The attending skills depict that you are more open, receptive and accepting for the other person in the process of communication. 

Attending well to the other person means that you are fully concentrating your energy on what the other person is saying , the feelings of the other person, the body gestures of the other person and their tone of voice. 

Attending skills call for special focus on the non verbal components of the communication by the other person including  the facial expressions, body movements, gaait, eye contact, tone of voice, speed of the speech, boy posture and mannerisms.

Attending skills in communication often encourage the other person to speak more as they can see that the other person seems much interested in whatever is being communicated by them. 

What are the zones of attending skills?

The attending skills are divided into three hypothetical zones. The zones of attending skills help us to understand better the process of attending and thus enhances our attention skills that we offer to the other process during the process of communication.

The first zone of attending skills requires us to fully concentrate on the environment around us. It is a zone of having all of our energies invested only in the process of communication with the other person and attending to the other person with full mental and physical concentration. This zone enables us to develop an insight about the other person and be minimally distracted by our own thoughts and feelings.

The second zone requires us to focus our attention back to ourselves in order to analyze and make meaning of whatever the other person has said during the communication. In this zone the focus is partially on the other person and partially on our own thoughts and feelings. 

After the second zone we may get back to the first zne to make more sense of the other person’s words and attend to his words and non verbal gestures. The shift between zone one and zone two during the attending skills is usually unintentional and requires no deliberate efforts.

The third zone of attending skills is related to interpretation of the verbal, the emotional and behavioral component of the message that was communicated. Interpretation usually involves extracting what the other person intended to communicate . while partially being attentive to the other person you tend to frame out the main idea of the conversation.

What are the components of attending skills?

The components of attending skills are :

Body language

Attending skills involve a major component of body language. By maintaining an open posture towards the speaker you motivate the speaker to share more of his ideas without being afraid or being worried about anything.

Body language also involves having pleasant facial expressions instead of having flat expressions that might restrict the other person from sharing anything.

Further, sitting with an open posture that involves leaning a bit forward and frequently nodding your head sounds encouraging for the other person during the process of communication.

Eye contact

Maintaining a firm eye contact is at the core of attending skills. By maintaining eye contact with the speaker, you show your unconditional positive regard and concern for the message being conveyed by the other person.

While maintaining eye contact in attending skills we need to take care that we might not appear as gazing or staring at the other person.

Vocal skills

Vocal skills in attending skills involve providing need based validations and reassurances to the other person during the course of communication process. It also involves modulating the tone of voice and the choice of words as per the other person’s need.

Using words like “mhm”, “ok” and  “ahan” often convey to the other person that you are attentively listening to whatever is conveyed by him or her.

Verbal Tracking

Verbal tracking is a component of attending skills in communication . It involves being a keen observer of the words of the other person and how the other person’s emotional expressions change within the course of communication.

Why are attending skills important?

Following are the important aspects of attending skills in communication:

  • Attending skills are an important part of an effective communication process. They enable us to listen with an open mind and interpret the other person’s message without being biased and judgemental. 
  • Attending skills enable us to understand the emotional aspects of the person communicating the message and empathize with the person.
  • Attending skills tend to portray that you are genuinely interested in the other person’s message.
  • Attending skills encourage the other person to speak openly about their concerns.
  • Attending skills prevent us from forming preconceived notions about the message being conveyed.


The current blogspot focused on the question “what are attending skills in communication?”. We learned the components of attending skills in communication. We also discussed the various zones of attending skills in communication and the importance of attending skills in communication.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Attending skills in communication

What are attending skills?

Attending skills are effective communication skills that enable a person to attend well to the speaker and focus on the verbal and non verbal components of the message being conveyed during the communication process.

What are the 4 attending behaviors?

The 4 attending behaviors are as follows :

  • Visual eye contact
  • Vocal 
  • Verbal tracking
  • Body language

How do you show attending skills?

You can show being attentive to the other person by :

  • Paying attention to them physically
  • Paying attention to them mentally
  • Focusing on their body language
  • Focusing on their words
  • Focusing on their eye contact
  • Focusing on their speech tone
  • Focusing on facial expressions

What does attending mean in interpersonal communication?

In interpersonal communication skills attending means to diverge all your focus on to the other person during the communication process to completely understand the message that the other person intends to convey.