10 Barriers to Effective Listening and Ways to Overcome Them
By Imran Ali October 22, 2022 Update on : October 22, 2022
Listening is the basic skill of any language. Effective listening thrives in patience and motivation. Total Physical Response also known as TPR theory can be an appropriate example of understanding effective listening. Listening works as input, the auditory nerve, and brain process it, and then the outcome- speaking- occurs. If the listening is not effective it becomes quite similar to hearing. Listening is a communication skill for gathering information and acquiring knowledge. We need to generate a conscious effort for effective listening.
Any distraction or lack of ample facility to the path of listening can be a barrier to effective listening. There are several barriers to the way to effective listening. We need to address the problems and get the solutions to get rid of the jeopardy.
Some major barriers to effective listening and the ways to overcome them are discussed here. Let’s have a look…
Unfavorable physical environment:
A decent and favorable physical environment is very important for learners to listen to something effectively. The physical classroom environment impacts the learning of all students. If a classroom is noisy or crowded it will be quite impossible to gain the knowledge a listener intends for. The environment should be calm and quiet. Otherwise, it becomes a barrier to communication and learning. The location, air quality, number and embodiment of students, quality of lighting, temperature, ventilation, odors, and so many other things can distract learners. A sober atmosphere needs to be assured to get rid of effective learning. The barriers due to the physical environment can be addressed easily.
Aggressive or self-centered approach:
An aggressive or self-centered mentality is an obstacle to effective listening as the approaches offer poor situations to learn something. Instead of an aggressive or self-centered mentality, the methodical and analytical behavior of a listener gives a clear and prudent vision of learning. She/he should let the speaker finish his/her speaking. A good listener never becomes impatient or self-centered.
Preoccupied thoughts or beliefs:
Learning becomes challenging if a person has preoccupied thoughts or beliefs about someone or something. It often makes the listener judgmental about something so she/he can’t concentrate. A listener should come up with a fresh thought to get information and gather knowledge from the listener.
Dislike of a person or topic:
If someone dislikes any person or a particular topic, she/he will hardly be convinced to listen to that person or listen about the topic. Such a mentality or phenomenon creates obstacles to effective listening. A listener should be unbiased brushing aside his or her personal liking or disliking.
Every listener is different but he/she should have some basic qualities to be a good listener. Some people are very lethargic to pay attention to the speaker and the speech. They subconsciously forget what they listen to as they are not active. Active listening is a must to get the best out of a conversation or any communication. On the other hand, inactive listening is a barrier to effective listening. We must pay attention and actively listen to the speaker to get over the barrier.
Any distraction should be unwelcomed by the listeners as it is one of the major barriers to effective listening. You need to avoid distractions and focus on the topic with a positive attitude to the speaker and his/her speech.
Ignoring the nonverbal cues:
Paying heed to the attitude of the speaker is very important but many of us hardly bother with this issue. It can be a barrier to effective listening and understanding. A good listener not only listens to something with his/her ears but also with eyes. A listener should focus on the speaker’s eye contact, hand gestures, and facial expressions to get the matter well.
Listeners should listen to the speaker very patiently. They should find joy or calmness instead of being impatient. There is no shortcut to getting the idea of others without listening to them carefully. Having less or no patience is another barrier to effective listening. You should have enough tranquility to triumph over the hurdle.
Rigidity or stubbornness:
A listener should not be rigid to any particular issue as such stubbornness is a barrier to effective learning. He/ she should listen, understand and evaluate what he/she had listened to. Keeping an open mind to listen and accept others’ opinions can be a remedy for this barrier.
Listeners can be of different ages, gender, education level, attitude, etc. The scenario can be vice versa. The speakers may come out with different ideas. It can be an obstacle to many listeners. So the listeners should be prepared to adapt or adjust to the new conditions. We hear so many things around us but we hardly adapt those as we don’t emphasize them. Without concentration and patience, any sound we hear is not listening.
We must address the hurdles to the path of effective listening and overcome them for a better output.