Wouldn’t it would be great to have words streaming so if you missed something you could catch in on the closed caption? We all know that is impossible, but there is another listening skill that gives a similar result. There are visual and audio clues that a person is often completely unaware of when speaking. You can become adept at reading these clues and listening will become easier.
Listen to the pace of the speaker. There are may be bursts of faster speech. It may slow as the speaker becomes more reflective. Pace is very telling and gives clues to tone and intent.
A good way to practice learning to recognize intonation is to take random words and saying them different ways. For example, say the word “hamburger” with an excited voice, sing it, use a silly voice, an angry voice, a happy voice, a nervous voice and a sad voice. It is amazing how intonation changes the effect of a simple word.
Not everyone is the same. Some people speak louder when they are exaggerating, while others get softer when the facts are skewed. If you take the cues from body language and volume the picture becomes clear rather quickly.
Each speaker has a specific rhythm. Once you listen and have the rhythm down, you will recognize pauses in odd places. You will be able to identify if the person is using a pause for dramatic effect, if they are searching for a word, or if they are just reflecting.
In the beginning you may feel like there are more possibilities than answers. However, with practice listening becomes easier. Auditory cues are a big part of being an effective listener.