Obstacles to Active Listening

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Obstacles to Active Listening
Zhimin Hao, Member
The main obstacle to active listening, in my view, is often the lack of willingness to listen. It is not a simple issue of skills.
From time to time, we jump to conclusions before listening to what others are to saying, with the belief that we already know what they are to say, and that we know everything.
In the end, the real losers are those who have the arrogance not to listen.
It has been proven that, for effective management, and for successful handling of issues, we need to know not only what we know, but more importantly what we do not know.

Listening Without Judgement
John Prpich, Member
When we talk about listening, we have to remember one more key element, listen without judgement. This is where most people fail when they are listening, often times we listen to others because we want to prepare ourselves to give them our best advice.
What I've learned throughout the years is that sometimes people just want you to hear what they have to say, they are not interested in help or feedback, they just want someone to listen to them.
This is very difficult for most people, we tend to want to help others, without realizing that help can be as simple as just being there for the person.
If you can't listen without judging, you are really not listening at all.

Listening Filters
seraphyn, Member
We spend 60% (source: Barker et al 1980) of our time time listening and only retain 25% (source: Nichols & Lewis 1954) of it!
The main factors which have an impact on our listening capabilities are the following filters:
- Culture
- Language
- Values
- Beliefs
- Attitudes
- Expectations
- Intentions.

Listening Filters
Wulf-Dieter Krueger, Member
Not to forget the biggest filter - the speaker.
The ability and the willingness to listen is determined by the speaker:
- Clarity and structure
- Well organised
- Proper language level for his listeners (no jumble mumble/specialist jargon)
- Right pitch
- Body language
- Appropriatedness - what is polite in one culture might be rude in another and vice versa.

Filters of Professionals' Listening
Wulf-Dieter Krueger, Member
I had to learn in this country that filters could also be the frame-set of the methodology that the listener encages himself/herself in. As far as foreign language teaching is concerned, people here are back in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and up to the 40-ies of the last century and do not want to/cannot understand 21st century mehodologies, because even their linguistic capacity/ability cannot handle it. That is why they are so far behind.


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