Overcoming Listening Barriers

Introduction:
Listening is a vital aspect of effective communication.Listening is a receptive skill in oral mode of a communication. Listening means that what we hear we also understand that thing. Listening include hearing and understanding various sounds, pitch, intonation, music etc. Sometime we wished that we had listened carefully what was being said. To become a good listener we have to overcome listening barriers. It is easy to encounter barriers to effective listening. Here are some of the more common ones and strategies for overcoming them.

Excessive talking:
If you insist on monopolizing the conversation, you’re not going to hear very much. People hesitate to communicate to those people who talk excessively and don’t listen to others.
Tips to overcome:
Be conscious of the amount of time you spend talking, and be alert for signs that your listener has something to say. Be willing to yield the floor at reasonable intervals. Avoid interrupting when the other person is speaking. Think before you speak , don’t say anything if you have nothing important to say.

Prejudice:
Prejudice is a preconceived opinion of feeling, which is usually against the speaker. In prejudice.You may conclude — either before or during the speaker’s remarks — that the speaker has nothing significant to say. The reasons for such prejudice are many. They may include the speaker’s appearance, age, actions, voice, race, religion and nationality.
Tips to overcome:
It’s best to overcome our prejudices, but while we’re overcoming them we must learn to override them when our best interests are involved. You do this by taking charge of your thoughts. Force yourself to seek out the value in what is being said. When you’re lost and asking for directions, you don’t let your attention stray because the person giving directions is wearing overalls instead of a business suit. You listen for the information you need to get to your destination. When you’re inclined to tune out a speaker because of some prejudice, remind yourself of the purpose of the conversation. Keep that purpose in mind, and listen for the words that bear on that purpose.

Jumping to conclusion:
You may decide that what the speaker is saying is too difficult, too trite, too boring, or otherwise unsuited to your needs. Therefore, you feign attentiveness while your mind is elsewhere.
Tips to overcome:
When you encounter this situation, bring your mind back to the here and now. Accept the challenge of drawing from the speaker some ideas and information that will be valuable to you personally. If the message is too trite or too boring, use questions to probe for more interesting and stimulating material. If the information is too difficult, ask the speaker to simplify. Just say, “You’re a pro at this, and I’m not. Give it to me in layman’s terms.” Then don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarification. The speaker will be flattered by your interest and will be eager to help you understand.

Misunderstanding:
Inability to hear correctly is one of the many reasons for misunderstanding of what the speaker is trying to communicate.  Misunderstanding will be caused if you are not listen properly what the speaker is saying.
Tips to overcome:
To avoid misunderstanding, always clarify with the speaker to ensure that you have understood correctly.Listening is a two-step process. The first step is to look and hear, the second step is to check and analyze.

Interrupting:
Interrupting a conversation with improper body language or inappropriate words will have a negative impact in effective communication. It will cause distraction in the mind of speaker.
Tips to overcome:
Listen without interrupting while the other person is speaking.If you seek to clarify something, use appropriate body language such as raising your hand or use appropriate words (like “I am sorry to be interrupting you…”).

Bringing in emotions:
Emotions erect barriers to effective communication. A listener’s senses are not likely to be functioning at their optimum level when he or she is angry. Likewise, it is not possible to understand or appreciate what the speaker is saying if the listener is excessively sad.
Tips to overcome:
It is better to avoid conversations when you are angry or excessively sad.

Fear:
Fear is a great barrier to listening. People who are afraid during a conversation are not likely to listen. They become defensive and tend to argue.When you suspect that what is about to be said will reflect unfavorably upon you, fear may result. Many people will stop listening then and find ways to start arguments, or use some other means of escape.
Tips to overcome:
Be aware that fear can only worsen the situation. Listen to what the other person is about to say without fear. Keeping calm will give you mental strength to face any situation. Taking a deep breath helps in overcoming fear.

Conclusion:
To become a good listener it is really necessary to overcome barriers by using these tips. As listening is most vital aspect of communication so to become a good communicator it is really important to overcome listening barriers.

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  • Alana

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