Hurier model of listening

hurier model

HURIER model states that six factors Hearing, Understanding, Remembering, Interpreting, Evaluating and Responding come into play when listening and if done well they can ensure good communication

The era of screens is here and it’s here for good. As each year passes we get more and more devices between us and the people around us. We now have smart glasses, smart watches, smart phones, smartphones that become tablets, and so much more tech all up in our personal environment and space. When something is so close to you all the time you need to keep in mind the kind of relationship you have with the device. In this age of short format content, TikToks, Vines and now Instagram reels the human mind has been conditioned to quickly move from one video to another. To quickly absorb what someone says in those short 7 seconds and then move on to interpret more new information. This fast content and instantaneous gratification culture has ended up affecting our bodies minds and also our attitude towards each other. Nowadays people rarely have time to sit  down and have a good talk, or put aside the phones for a nice family dinner. Kids end up getting jumpy and antsy and just mindlessly keep checking their phones just to see if something new is there because we can no longer handle long stretches of constant focus on one particular thing. 

Parents don’t make it any easier on themselves either by introducing children to a world of content at such a young and fragile age when the toddlers are very impressionable. These toddlers develop all their habits good or bad and most of their personalities at that age. Teaching them to actually listen and be attentive is something much more important than training their brain to keep switching from one app to the other every 5 minutes. The effect of this type of parenting and the lack of control people have over their screens can be seen as cases of ADD, ADHD and other learning and hyperactivity disorders keep going up and up as more and more children start using tablets and smartphones at an increasingly younger and younger age. While people 5 years back might not have had a smartphone till their highschool or middle school days, toddlers nowadays start their lives by watching videos of lullabies on YouTube every night or every time they cry in order to quiet down or go to sleep

The HURIER Model:

In times like these it is important to go back to basics and remember the things that matter which is humanity and real world interactions. This requires a much more different set of skills rather than the tech know how and hashtags that can make you Instafamous. The skills required for good human interaction are well defined by the HURIER Model.

The HURIER Model was developed by Judi Brownell who was a professor of organizational communication. The model describes and talks about the six stages of listening. The word HURIER is an acronym which stands for Hearing, Understanding, Remembering, Interpreting, Evaluating and Responding. HURIER model states that six factors Hearing, Understanding, Remembering, Interpreting, Evaluating and Responding come into play when listening and if done well they can ensure good communication and understanding between the two individuals.

Many conflicts arise from a lack of communication or miscommunication. The HURIER model aims to eliminate this entirely by urging people to listen more effectively than just nodding along while their mind is wandering far away in wonderland.


Hearing refers to the basic action of receiving the sound and processing the message that is trying to be conveyed by that sound. This stage of listening is to make sure the other person is audible to you and you are able to correctly understand what is being said. If you make a mistake while hearing itself and hear something other than what was actually said, the whole HURIER process is disrupted since the initial message itself is not clear. Words can often be confused or misheard as many words sound similar in the english language such as ‘sea and see, I and eye and so on’ if you are not sure about what was said it is always better to ask and clarify right then and there instead of not addressing it and on realising circling back to the start to make sure everything was understood correctly.


Understanding is the next stage of the process that comes after hearing. On hearing what one has to say you need to process and actually understand what they mean. People can often be vague or talk in circles or even just make open ended statements. In order to respond back to them properly in a way that can contribute to the conversation one needs to accurately understand what the speaker is trying to say. The lack of application of this principle can be seen in almost all classrooms and across all levels of education. It is an everyday occurrence where a professor asks his students if a concept has been understood and the class silently nods yes in unison, Asking questions at time to properly understand the topic in question would prevent the frantic last day phone calls to peers and to the professor to clear doubts and understand concepts that would have been understood in the first place if the student took the time to actually understand the whole concept and the message by hearing the teacher properly and then following up with some questions to clarify whatever the professor might have missed, forgotten or ignored.


Remembering is the third stage of the HURIER model and it refers to the ability to store the information understood for future use. Sticking with the classroom example, the students would obviously want to remember what they learnt in class for the semester end exams.  This stage however also refers to the more not so obvious applications. It can be as small as hearing and listening to someone talk about his or her birthday and then remembering to wish them the following year. Remembering things you hear does not just apply to academics or office work. Remembering what people say also means remembering the little things people tell you in general or maybe even in confidence. The fact that someone tells you something about themselves, be it personal or not, means that they expect you to at the very least try to remember what they said and take it into account when interacting with them. 


Contrary to popular belief just listening to someone talk even with the most concentration so that you can remember everything is not all that there is to effective listening, On understanding what one is trying to say it is not time for you to interpret the situation as a whole and determine what the big picture and the message is. This includes looking at facial cues, the social setting, present company around you as well as taking into consideration the person speaking himself/herself. One can be saying one thing but further observation of their facial gestures and expressions can change the meaning all together. This lets you in on the reality of the situation and puts you in a place where you can empathize with the speaker and actually look at things from his/her point of view.


Evaluating is the part where logic and reasoning comes into play. You look at the situation and evaluate it. Look at the speaker and look at his/her demeanor, appearance, body language and other subtle cues. Is the speaker credible and knowledgeable about what they are speaking? People always talk when given a chance to and some people love spinning yarns of long stories just to draw people in and grab their attention. Evaluating the situation can pull you out of that bubble and realise things that other people might have missed. The devil lies in the detail and only by evaluating the situation will you be able to look at the details.


Now comes the last stage, responsiing. This is the culmination of the five previous steps where you take all the information gathered and reply in a way that indicates you have been listening while also adding some viewpoints of your own into the conversation. This information then has to be received and processed by the speaker in the same manner to make conversing fun and engaging. Responding in a way that shows you are interested is important. You need to respond not just with your words but with your body language as well. Your body language can communicate a lot about how you feel towards a certain person or the topic in question. While listening the body must face the speaker and you must show intent to listen by looking at them, not fidgeting around and letting the person finish what they are saying before contributing your thoughts to the equation.


In the fast world, we live in now let us take time to stop, listen, and think for ourselves before blurting out whatever’s in our heads. The HURIER model sounds long and complicated but the human brain is a beautiful thing and can perform all these stages of listening before you can name them. You need to want to listen however and be attentive. This is not some automatic process and does require effort from both sides to have the desired effect of having an enriching healthy conversation. Listening is one of the most important tools for communication and no matter how many screens we get you’re still going to have to talk to humans and listen to them so might as well do it effectively.

Hurier model of listening

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