There are few common barriers to good and effective listening. One of them is,Knowing the answer. It means that you assume that you already have an idea on the content of the message before the speaker actually finishes it. In some situation, you might interrupt her or selfishly try to make the sentence complete for them. The worst thing is you interfere the speaker and say you are disagreeing with their opinion. It is rude because you are not letting others to finish up their sentences. This is the main factor that makes a discussion to end up without a decision and it is common happen when two team in an organization have their own idea and both not listening each other and stand on their own way. It can be said that you are not appreciating and not value the message send by the speaker to you by distracting the speaker before letting them to finish their sentences. Crucial component in good listening is showing respect to the speaker. Pre-judgement on what the speaker going to say or it can be said as closed mindedness contributes to listening barrier. Be open or receptive minded person is a characteristic of a good listener. Good listener will stretch his mind and looks for available chance to obtain new idea or insight rather than stick to existing idea or their own point of view.
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Other than that, “trying to be helpful” is another barrier in listening skill. Although we assume that it seems to be beneficial if we are trying to be helpful, but it turns into horrible situation when it come into listening. It’s actually interferes effective listening. This is because the listener’s is considering solving the speaker’s problem. The result is the listener misses the words throws or what actually message saying by the speaker. “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”, this is some proverb say in old Zen. This can be clearly stated that we need to put our full attention to anything that we are currently doing. It is worth stressing that the aim of good listening depends on how much attention we put on listening to receive the message sends by the speaker’s. Giving advice during speaker’s try to explain something which they experience may break the flow of conversation. Thus, it affects both parties by which the speaker’s did not pass the message accurately and the listener’s did not get the exact content from the communication process. “Messiah complex” is one of the common problem faces by many people. It can well describe as we try to rescue or fix other people problem as a means of feeling fulfilled. This type of people usually not called as problem-solvers.
Nevertheless, mannerism can be a huge obstacle to good listening. Trying to say something while listening will also reflect that you have made particular judgments about the message sender which is the speaker. Emotional distractions carry few percentages in effective communication. Early judgement by the listener can mean that the listener’s does not have whole comprehended on the message though by the speaker’s. The true act of love and respect which you can offer is you give a person your 100% attention while listening. Listen and understand your team mate can empower the relationship between team members because human beings are such social animals. When the speaker’s starts to explain their long-term problem and you offer a facile or off-the-cuff solution and this would be inappropriate. This is because you might forget that the speaker may take into consideration your immediate solution long time before.
Another significant barrier to good listening is some people feel that it is a sign of weakness when we agree or in the same line with the speaker during a heated conference. They feel induced to argue each point the speaker said even though if the listener inwardly agrees. The person who keeps arguing will wins the most point in a discussion. When we treat a discussion as a competition will be the biggest barriers to good listening. It prevents the listener from viewing an idea in difference prospective. It can be very frustrating on behalf of the speaker. This situation often we can see in an organization. When two teams try to defend their own opinion and idea, they tend to interfere when opposition team explaining their arguments. This makes an organization to rupture.
A good listener just relies on listening. Any unnecessary motive will indirectly diminish the concentration of the listener. Trying to influence or impress the speaker is an example of ulterior motive. When a listener’s have any other agenda rather than simply to understand what the speaker’s try to think and feel will not helping them to focus while listening. “People can understand a language three or two times faster than any words they speak” this is what been claim by psychologists. This shows that a listener has a lot of extra mental “bandwidth” or wide range of field to think about other things when listen to speaker. Spare few space or capacity to contemplate about what the content of message send by speaker will be a valuable characteristic of a good listener. During conversation process in an organization, an ulterior motive employee will try to impress the manager and will possibly make use of the spare capacity to start thinking of his “next move”. This type of employee will think what they need to say next or rebuttal when their manager finished with their sentences. The employee is not focusing on understanding the message send to them.
“Believing in language” can be arduous barriers to an effective listening. In other word is, we tend to interpret some rarely used or double meaning words with unmatched meaning. Some people think that, language can be a guessing game. Both speaker and listener use language to surmise each other to think on the subject matter. Some words do have several meaning. When the speaker throws any words by assuming that listener must understand it, thus the fallacy on the speaker side. It is not practical to think that definition of a word can be sent live from the dictionary to the listener through the word. “Why didn’t you understand, I already said it perfectly and clearly?”, this is an example of fallacy which a speaker may do during conversation. Of course, the simple-minded assumption here is words that other people understand can be understand by others too. These can be applicable, when particular word containing absolute meaning. This is because each word gives unique effect to a person. The consequence is the person will try to relate the word based on their unique experience. Few differences can be tolerated but it will cause misunderstanding when we try to interpret most of the word in our own definition and experience. It will become a severe problem when senior worker use any word or term in conversation which based on experience with their junior worker. If the junior worker does not have the same experience as the senior worker, then the words is pointless. The worst case is the junior worker may silently make the word match with a difference experience.
There are few strategies can be taken to create a good listening. A good listener will listen not only to what is being said, but also to what is left unsaid or only partially said.
Listening involves observing body language and noticing inconsistencies between verbal and non-verbal messages. For example, if someone tells you that they are happy with their life but through gritted teeth or with tears filling their eyes, you should consider that the verbal and non-verbal messages are in conflict, they maybe don’t mean what they say. Listening requires you to concentrate and use your other senses in addition to simply hearing the words spoken. Listening is not the same as hearing and in order to listen effectively you need to use more than just your ears.
1. Stop Talking
“If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.” Mark Twain. Don’t talk, listen. When somebody else is talking listen to what they are saying, do not interrupt, talk over them or finish their sentences for them. Stop, just listen. When the other person has finished talking you may need to clarify to ensure you have received their message accurately.
2. Prepare Yourself to Listen
Relax. Focus on the speaker. Put other things out of mind. The human mind is easily distracted by other thoughts – what’s for lunch, what time do I need to leave to catch my train, is it going to rain – try to put other thoughts out of mind and concentrate on the messages that are being communicated.
3. Put the Speaker at Ease
Help the speaker to feel free to speak. Remember their needs and concerns. Nod or use other gestures or words to encourage them to continue. Maintain eye contact but don’t stare – show you are listening and understanding what is being said.
4. Remove Distractions
Focus on what is being said: don’t doodle, shuffle papers, look out the window, pick your fingernails or similar. Avoid unnecessary interruptions. These behaviours disrupt the listening process and send messages to the speaker that you are bored or distracted.
Empathy is a selfless act, it enables us to learn more about people and relationships with people – it is a desirable skill beneficial to ourselves, others and society. Phrases such as ‘being in your shoes’ and ‘soul mates’ imply empathy – empathy has even been likened to a spiritual or religious state of connection with another person or group of people.
“I call him religious who understands the suffering of others.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Try to understand the other person’s point of view. Look at issues from their perspective. Let go of preconceived ideas. By having an open mind we can more fully empathise with the speaker. If the speaker says something that you disagree with then wait and construct an argument to counter what is said but keep an open mind to the views and opinions of others.
6. Be Patient
A pause, even a long pause, does not necessarily mean that the speaker has finished. Be patient and let the speaker continue in their own time, sometimes it takes time to formulate what to say and how to say it. Never interrupt or finish a sentence for someone.
7. Avoid Personal Prejudice
Try to be impartial. Don’t become irritated and don’t let the person’s habits or mannerisms distract you from what they are really saying. Everybody has a different way of speaking – some people are for example more nervous or shy than others, some have regional accents or make excessive arm movements, some people like to pace whilst talking – others like to sit still. Focus on what is being said and try to ignore styles of delivery.
8. Listen to the Tone
Effective speaking has nothing to do with the outdate concept of ‘elocution’ where everyone was encouraged to speak in the same ‘correct’ manner. Rather, effective speaking concerns being able to speak in a public context with confidence and clarity, while at the same time reflecting one’s own personality. Volume and tone both add to what someone is saying. A good speaker will use both volume and tone to their advantage to keep an audience attentive; everybody will use pitch, tone and volume of voice in certain situations – let these help you to understand the emphasis of what is being said.
9. Listen for Ideas – Not Just Words
You need to get the whole picture, not just isolated bits and pieces. Maybe one of the most difficult aspects of listening is the ability to link together pieces of information to reveal the ideas of others. With proper concentration, letting go of distractions, and focus this becomes easier.
10. Wait and Watch for Non-Verbal Communication
Gestures, facial expressions, and eye-movements can all be important. We don’t just listen with our ears but also with our eyes – watch and pick up the additional information being transmitted via non-verbal communication. Do not jump to conclusions about what you see and hear. You should always seek clarification to ensure that your understanding is correct. Non-verbal communications include facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, gestures displayed through body language (kinesics) and the physical distance between communicators (proxemics). These non-verbal signals can give clues and additional information and meaning over and above spoken (verbal) communication.
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