We cannot expect people to listen to our woes if we don’t listen to theirs. Read this article to know what impedes effective listening.

Barriers To Effective Listening

Communication gaps can be erased altogether if everybody were good listeners. Everybody wants to voice their opinions, but nobody likes to do it with a wall. Yes, we live in a world filled with selfish souls. A cringe-worthy cacophony is today’s music. Some stick to their iPod earphones, while others can’t keep their hands off the car horn. Being silent is not that hard a task. Everybody has the potential to impart a few words of wisdom. Listen! Don’t turn everything into noise. Besides, barriers to effective listening may often strain relationships at work or even at home. Now you know why your girlfriend has been giving you the cold shoulder? She was trying to tell you about her upcoming birthday, but alas, you had your ears reserved to the commentator of the Chelsea-Arsenal match. Too bad! The dork next door remembered and threw her the best surprise party ever. Don’t be surprised if you’re stuck celebrating your 21st birthday with your pet poodle. So what is the mighty crooning temptress that steals our precious hearing abilities? Find out as you read on.

Effective Listening Barriers

You Think You Already Know
The speaker has barely finished pouring out his share and you chime in with an answer. Brimming with overconfidence, you think there’s no possible way you can go wrong. Or rather, you are too lazy to listen and you gathered that speaking is so much fun. You want to impress the speaker by letting him know that you can read his mind. Don’t break the speaker’s rhythm and moreover, don’t jump to conclusions. Allow him to go ahead with minimal interruptions, especially if it’s an intense topic of discussion!

Reaction To Certain Words Or Terms
As the speaker rambles on, he might intentionally use a word or phrase that might offend the listener. Whether the listener is shocked or hurt, he definitely will not be able to continue listening. His mind will start to wander and think of many other irrelevant possibilities. To be a great listener, avoid all distractions and focus on what is presently being said. If you want to discuss your reaction with the speaker, have the decency to let him finish first! Make mental notes of where you disagree and what affected you a lot and then confront him when he’s done with the ranting!

Desire To Compete
During a discussion, the listener interprets his own agreement as a sign of weakness. Many people believe that the inability to counter every statement put forth by the speaker signifies poor thinking skills. However, bear in mind that this obstructs good listening and defeats the purpose of having a strong discussion. It is perfectly alright for two people to agree on the same thing. And even if you do disagree, listen to whatever the speaker has to say before you object.

Feigning Attention
On several occasions, the listener might space out as he or she has least interest in what the speaker has to say. A non-sports enthusiast wouldn’t be too thrilled to listen to a forty-three minute review of the Wimbledon finals! Nonetheless, many fake listeners feel obligated to pretend so as to not offend the speaker’s feelings. The downside materializes when the speaker pops a random question in the middle of his soliloquy. The cat’s out of the bag when the speaker realizes that the listener was dreaming of dinner. 

Arbitrary Interruptions And Distractions
So the listener might be absolutely absorbed into the speech. However, his concentration is lost once his blackberry vibrates or the dog barks incessantly. These interruptions aren’t exactly within our power and sadly, they do hamper one’s ability to listen.

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