Looking At Overcoming Listening Barriers English Language Essay

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To use the active listening technique to improve interpersonal communication, one puts personal emotions aside during the conversation, asks questions and paraphrases back to the speaker to clarify understanding, and one also tries to overcome all types of environment distractions. Furthermore, the listener considers the speaker's background, both cultural and personal, to benefit as much as possible from the communication process.

These are some suggestions that can help you get started on the way to become an effective listener:

For Slides use

Face the speaker. Sit up straight or lean forward slightly to show your attentiveness through body language.

Engage yourself. Ask questions for clarification, but, once again, wait until the speaker has finished. That way, you won't interrupt her train of thought. After you ask questions, paraphrase her point to make sure you didn't misunderstand. Start with: "So you're saying…" 

Notice the vocal qualities - Are you talking too fast? That could be interpreted as you are either excited or worried about time so it may force the speaker to rush through his message.

Watch your body language - Do you make eye contact to show the speaker your readiness to listen? Did you just raise an eyebrow which speaker can take as a sign of disbelief? How about checking a watch or doodling which means boredom or impatience. Effective listeners are aware of what body language means and use it appropriately.

Minimize internal distractions. If your own thoughts keep horning in, simply let them go and continuously re-focus your attention on the speaker, much as you would during meditation. 

Minimize external distractions. Turn off the TV. Put down your book or magazine, and ask the speaker and other listeners to do the same.

Focus solely on what the speaker is saying. Try not to think about what you are going to say next. The conversation will follow a logical flow after the speaker makes

her point. 

Respond appropriately to show that you understand. Murmur ("uh-huh" and "um-hmm") and nod. Raise your eyebrows. Say words such as "Really," "Interesting," as well as more direct prompts: "What did you do then?" and "What did she say?"

Others: Not in slides

Maintain eye contact, to the degree that you all remain comfortable.  

Keep an open mind. Wait until the speaker is finished before deciding that you disagree. Try not to make assumptions about what the speaker is thinking. ( Note: similar as puts personal emotions aside that mentioned in first paragraph)

Avoid letting the speaker know how you handled a similar situation. Unless she specifically asks for advice, assume she just needs to talk it out. 

Even if the speaker is launching a complaint against you, wait until she finishes to defend yourself. The speaker will feel as though her point had been made. She won't feel the need to repeat it, and you'll know the whole argument before you respond. Research shows that, on average, we can hear four times faster than we can talk, so we have the ability to sort ideas as they come in…and be ready for more. 

Remove environmental barriers - When someone wants to talk to you reduce or eliminate the environmental barriers, turn off the TV, go to a quieter spot. . ( Note: similar as overcome all types of environment distractions that mentioned in first paragraph)

Pay attention to the vocal tone of the speaker- Are they worried? Excited? Relieved? Tired? Angry? The role and behavior of the effective listener changes accordingly. A tired person may not be able to focus, so the listener can help them focus on their message. An angry person needs some room to vent so they require a little more patience and wrong questions can really fuel their anger.

Acknowledge the speaker's feelings by showing sincere interest in the feelings and not just the facts. "What would changing our hosting company mean to you?" is very different than "why should we change our hosting company?" The first question encourages a response and the second illicit a debate.

Encourage the speaker by using expansion statements such as "tell me more about that." Imagine this scenario. You briefly told your partner a story of something that happened to you and when you are finished, he or she says, "That was interesting, tell me more about what happened." You would feel warm and fuzzy all over. So try it with others.

Scenario #1:

A: "Sorry I'm late. As I was leaving the house, my dog ran into the

street and was hit by a car."

B: (reflecting the content): "The car hit him?"

A: "Yes."

B: "Did your dog die?"

A: "Yea."

B: "Did the driver stop?"

A: "Yes, but the damage was done."

B: "Would you like to postpone our meeting?"

A: "Yes, I think I would."

B: "Sure. Sorry 'bout your dog."

In this example, it is true that Person B has accurately restated the factual content of what

he has heard Person A say and inquired further into other facts of Person A's story. But,

do you think Person A really feels he has been "heard"? In other words, do you think

that Person B shows any kind of connection with the emotional underpinnings of what

Person A is likely experiencing?

Scenario #2:

A: "Sorry I'm late. As I was leaving the house, my dog ran into the

street and got hit by a car."

B: (reflecting the feeling): "Oh, my gosh, was your dog hurt? You

must feel terrible."

A: "Yea, he died at the scene. He was a good dog, six years old; our

kids really loved him."

B: "Dogs can be such integral members of families. Sounds like this

will be really hard on your kids and you, too. You've got a lot on your

plate right now. Would it be helpful if we postponed talking about

our upcoming presentation until tomorrow afternoon?"

A: "I'd appreciate that. Thanks for understanding."

In this scenario, the interaction between Person A and Person B is much different.

Person B "gets it" and is able to truly convey that he hears Person A and understands his

present needs. There is both a "content" piece and a "feelings" piece to active listening.

The trick is to blend the two in a way that reflects you are genuinely listening.

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