“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. ” —Stephen R. Covey. Its all in the mindset and what revolves around us is what I believe causes most people to become poor listeners. Therefore, if it wasn’t for media access or the internet, I suppose the percentage would be fairly even; however, technology is what is needed although most people have poor social skills. They are too into themselves and/or have selective hearing.
In other words, the act of "listening" may be affected by barriers that impede the flow of information. These barriers include distractions, an inability to prioritize information, a tendency to assume or judge based on little or no information, and general confusion about the topic being discussed. Above all, some of the most common barriers to effective listening include low concentration, lack of prioritization, poor judgement, and focusing on style rather than substance.
What are some of the barriers to effective listening? There are many things that get in the way of listening, many of which are bad habits such as trying to listen to more than one conversation at a time, you find the communicator attractive/unattractive, you are not interested in the topic/issue being discussed and become bored, you have preconceived ideas or bias, and have a closed mind that we believe to be correct and it can be difficult to listen to the views of others that contradict our own opinions.
Above all, I believe identifying rather than empathising is one of the most important barriers because understanding what you are hearing but not putting yourself in the shoes of the speaker is tough. As most of us have a lot of internal self-dialogue, we spend a lot of time listening to our own thoughts and feelings and it can be difficult to switch the focus from 'I' or 'me' to 'them' or 'you'.
Therefore, effective listening involves opening our minds to the views of others and attempting to feel empathetic. Given those barriers, what are some things that we could do to become more effective listeners? Some of the things that we could do on becoming a more effective listener is by being open by not being afraid of silence. Sometimes we are so used to noise that we start to drift away from what is important. Another way of becoming an effective listener is by asking
follow-up questions for they are a great way of showing that you were listening and want know more about the topic that is being discussed, but most importantly, get rid of distractions. For example, it was really tough for me to get rid of my phone while doing homework/studying and still is a bit but I have improved by getting distractions out of the way so I can accomplish the task that need to get done. However, before I would be doing assignments while I was on my phone, had the TV on, music playing on the laptop, and people speaking around me.
These distractions drew me back to what was important and I couldn’t concentrate at all. It is our faults for letting these things happen but all we have to do is get rid of those distractions from the outside world. “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ” — Leo Buscaglia