Barriers to Effective Listening
More often than not, I find myself either distracted from within or from my external surroundings while trying to listen to someone. These internal and external distractions have greatly impacted my listening skills; I have repeatedly reasoned erroneously and made irrational judgments and poor decisions simple because I did not listen attentively to the speaker. Some of the barriers to effective listening in my life are discussed below. The greatest barrier to effective listening in my life is that I normally tend to think that I know more than the speakers know, especially when the presenters are handling a subject matter that I have prior knowledge about. After the speakers have introduced their presentations and it happens that the topic is, or is related to, something I am familiar with, I normally shift from listening to what the speakers have to say concerning the subject matter and focus—in my mind—on what I know about the topic.
No wonder many of my conversations with friends end up in emotion-filled, dead-end arguments. In failing to listen to what the other person has to say, I fail to see things through their eyes and talk only from my perspective. It feels so good to be listened to, I admit; in the light of the lessons I have learnt about effective communication, however, my urge to be listened to all the time makes me a very poor listener hence the need to change. Going forward, therefore, I will try to practice and make the art of turn taking my second nature. I will purpose to fully listen to my friends without cutting them short and understand the basis of their argument before responding.
Lastly, I generally find it difficult to tolerate and listen to people with beliefs that differ with my beliefs. For example, I normally can’t help but view any person who doesn’t share my religious beliefs as wrong and lost and hence not worthy of my ears. The same happens with political beliefs. If you don’t believe in and subscribe to my political ideologies then trust me you are going to have a rough time talking politics with me. I have great difficulties shifting perspective. I have to be flexible enough to listen to other people’s opinions before I interject or respond. I purpose to respond and argue with facts rather than let emotions crowd my reasoning and judgment.
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