Barriers to ListeningAnd to guide you on how to listen and communicate better, we have listed five (5) barriers foreffective listening that we should consciously avoid or eliminate whenever we are engage in aconversation.1. Environmental DistractionsEnvironmental distractions are any cause that divided attention of an individual or group fromthe chosen object of attention onto the source of distraction. It is the lack of ability to payattention, lack of interest in the object of attention, or the great intensity, novelty or attractivenessof something other than the object of attention. Distractions come from both external sources,and internal sources.External distractions can include electronic gadgets like personal computers or laptops, cellularphones, music players, television, portable gaming consoles and etc. Internal distractions can beabsent-mindedness, lack of interest, lack of attention, etc.These external and internal distractions are the common barriers for effective listening. They arebasic, but most of us still forget these basic stuffs, that we can observe it is common at home, inschool, at work or in the community.To eliminate this type of listening barriers, when conversing with people, put yourself in a goodenvironmental position without external and internal distractions. Take time to stop and giveyour full attention to the person you are talking to. It will not only help you understand the otherperson better, but also, can create more meaningful and deeper relationship with them.2. PrideAnother type of listening barrier is our pride or ego. Most often, we let our pride or ego to takeover the conversation. We think that we are already smart enough to even listen from otherpeople. We think that we are better from other people that we have nothing more to learn fromthem.When we close ourselves and stop listening to other people, we are doomed because we stoplearning. To eliminate this listening barrier, be more open-minded to listen and learn from otherpeople. You may learn more things if you open yourself and listen. But be mindful of selectivelistening. Remember that you don’t have to agree with everything, but it’s helpful if you at leastconsider listening.
3. AssumptionsHuman mind is mysterious and it can process a lot of information, especially in betweenconversation, even while the other party is still talking. Which is why we have the tendency tointerrupt, because we assume that we already know what the other is telling us. Such behavior iscause by another listening barrier called assumptions.Assumptions are statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn. Quiet often, when we make assumptions, we already create conclusion in our mind without evenconsidering the thoughts and feelings of the other person. And as such, you create more gap andunresolved problems.To resolve and eliminate this listening barrier, practice keeping an open-mind and listen beforeyou make any assumptions. You may try putting yourself in the shoe of another so you canfully understand and feel the sentiments of the other person.4. Close-MindednessAnother listening barrier to effective conversation is close-mindedness.Close-mindedness is intolerant of the beliefs and opinions of others; stubbornly unreceptive tonew ideas. When we think that we all have the answer, and that the things we know are alwaysthe right answers, then our mind will close for new ideas.In order to eliminate this listening barrier, strive to always keep an open mind for effectivelistening. You will learn and build deeper relationship if you stop being close-minded.5. DefensivenessLast type of listening barrier is defensiveness, an attitude or position of defense. It’s when weconstantly protect ourselves from criticism, exposure of one’s shortcomings, or other real orperceived threats to the ego.Defensiveness is a primal response to feeling attacked, threatened, misunderstood ordisrespected. This will normally results to never ending argument, protest, denial and blaming.To eliminate this listening barrier, remember not to view comments and criticisms as personalattack. Instead use them as a tool for personal assessment, improvement and growth.Most of the barriers listed above give us the tendency to interfere with the speaker. Interferingthe speaker also means that we don’t value what they are saying.