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Informational Listening -This is simple, straightforward listening. The speaker intends to get a message across, and the listener’s goal should be to understand that message as completely as possible. The listener might need to ask questions or request clarification to get the full message. A good way to improve your informational listening skills is to rephrase and repeat the speaker’s message back to her. If the speaker affirms what you’ve said, you have understood the message successfully.

Relationship Listening -The purpose of this type of listening is to improve the relationship between two or more people. This kind of listening skill is most often known in a romantic relationship, but it’s also a big part of friendships and family relationships. In this type of listening, the speaker expresses her feelings, and the listener’s job is to process the information before responding. Obstacles to objective listening are building an internal defense or negating what the speaker says.

It’s important to support the speaker by really hearing what she has to say rather than skipping over the comments. This kind of listening is more amenable to a give-and-take relationship and can involve the listener speaking after she has processed the speaker’s thoughts. Sympathetic Listening-This could be considered the most challenging type of listening because the listener’s role is often not to respond at all. The speaker who seeks sympathetic listening might have suffered a tragedy or needs someone to listen to a series of complex thoughts.

The listener can help by validating what the speaker says and supporting her words. In this case, it’s best for the listener to refrain from offering suggestions or clouding up the speaker’s thoughts. Appreciative Listening-This is one of the most enjoyable types of listening, and it comes naturally for many people. There aren’t a lot of responses necessary in appreciative listening, though groups of listeners might often talk among themselves to process the experience. Appreciative listening is most often used when people listen to music, plays, concerts or other performances.

Critical Listening -To comment upon a conversation or a piece of audio work in a critical way, listeners need to use their critical-listening skills. These skills are developed at a young age in most children, who are instructed to listen to teachers’ instructions and follow them carefully. The skills continue to be refined as people grow older and comment critically on films, plays, or other academic works. Critical listening is a complex process that can involve paying carefully attention to the speakers’ tones, inflections and word choices. Barriers to Listening

Excessive Talking -Good conversational skills are an asset, and a person with this skill is more likely to achieve professional success. However, talking more than is necessary is a barrier to effective communication. People hesitate to interact with a person who talks excessively without listening to them. They may also get bored, and excessive talking may be perceived as aggression. Try these tips to overcome this habit: Think before you speak, and don’t speak if you have nothing important to contribute. Practice self-control. Allow the other person to speak.

Avoid interrupting when the other person is speaking. Be aware of indulging in useless talk for the sake of talking. Be brief while conveying your thoughts. Observe your listener’s reactions while speaking. Prejudice-Prejudice is a preconceived opinion of feeling, which is usually irrational. Prejudice is very dangerous and has the potential to bring animosity into the team and to break team spirit. The reason for a prejudice may be the speaker’s race, religion, age or appearance. A prejudiced person will not make any effort to listen and understand.

Overcoming prejudice while listening: Respect the other person for his or her knowledge and skills, irrespective of the person’s background. Make conscious efforts to take charge of your thoughts. Consciously avoid taking an “I know what he or she is going to say” attitude while the other person is speaking. Distractions-The four main types of distractions are physical, mental, auditory and visual. Here’s how to avoid this common barrier: Face the person who is speaking. Maintain eye contact while the other person is speaking. Ensure that you are comfortable. Switch off the cell phone.

Excessive Attachment to Personal Beliefs and Values-It is fine to have personal beliefs and values, but an excessive attachment to them will have a negative impact on your ability to communicate effectively with others. Learn to appreciate the fact that each and every person has his or her own set of beliefs and values. Misunderstanding-Inability to hear correctly is one of the many reasons for misunderstanding of what the speaker is trying to communicate. This inability to hear is often the result of prejudice. To avoid misunderstanding, always clarify with the speaker to ensure that you have understood correctly.

Interrupting-Interrupting a conversation with improper body language or inappropriate words will have a negative impact in effective communication. Here’s some tips to help you avoid this barrier to effective listening: Listen without interrupting while the other person is speaking. If you seek to clarify something, use appropriate body language such as raising your hand or use appropriate words (like “I am sorry to be interrupting you… “). Faking Attention-The person who is faking attention is just “hearing” but not “listening”. The person is acting as if he or she is listening.

There may be some eye contact and the person may even be nodding, but the mind is elsewhere. The person may be thinking about what to have for lunch or what to wear for the party that evening. Faking attention is a habit for some people, but it conveys lack of respect and dishonesty. Try these tips: Make it a habit to listen attentively. It is advisable to assume that the other person knows something that you may not know. Avoid thinking about how to reply when the other person is speaking. This habit can be overcome by taking notes while the other person is speaking.

Bringing in Emotions-Emotions erect barriers to effective communication. A listener’s senses are not likely to be functioning at their optimum level when he or she is angry. Likewise, it is not possible to understand or appreciate what the speaker is saying if the listener is excessively sad. Tip: It is better to avoid conversations when you are angry or excessively sad. Noise-Noise is “any unwanted sound. It is a great impediment to clear communication. It is impossible to listen in a noisy environment. It becomes a frustrating experience for both the speaker and the listener.

Try to avoid conversations in noisy surroundings. Eliminate the source of noise whenever possible; turn off cell phones, radios or television sets. Fear-Fear is a great barrier to listening. People who are afraid during a conversation are not likely to listen. They become defensive and tend to argue. Tips to overcome fear: Be aware that fear can only worsen the situation. Listen to what the other person is about to say without fear. Keeping calm will give you mental strength to face any situation. Taking a deep breath helps in overcoming fear.

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