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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Barriers of Effective Listening

There are many things that prevent us from listening, not least of which is laziness. We simply can’t be bothered. Or maybe we’ve never been trained to listen. Our upbringing is such that no one has listened to us so why should we listen to them? No one has taught us how to listen.

The first thing we need to do is to open our minds and have the desire to learn this skill – after all it is good manners to listen. But what prevents us?

  1. different perspectives: we see things differently to the person talking and we disagree with them
  2. strong emotions: we have very strong feelings on the subject which prevents us from listening; we may also have prejudices
  3. physical tiredness or discomfort: we may be tired or hungry; we may be hot or cold; we may be under stress and feel anxious or unwell
  4. desire to talk: we love to talk most of the time, to be the centre of attention; we love the sound of our own voice and think that only our opinions really count
  5. distractions and mind wandering: we may be distracted because of a noise; or we may be thinking ahead of all the things that need to be done; we may be worried about someone or something
  6. reactions to the speaker: we may dislike the person who is talking to us; we may find them boring or opinionated