Good listening is arguably one of the most important skills to have in today's complex world. Families need good listening to face complicated stresses together. Corporate employees need it to solve complex problems quickly and stay competitive. Students need it to understand complex issues in their fields. Much can be gained by improving listening skills.
Eight barriers to effective listening
Most of us are terrible listeners. We're such poor listeners, in fact, that we don't know how much we're missing. …show more content…
Wait for the speaker to clearly invite you to go ahead before you offer your advice.
#3 - Treating discussion as competition
Some people feel that agreeing with the speaker during a heated discussion is a sign of weakness. They feel compelled to challenge every point the speaker makes, even if they inwardly agree. Discussion then becomes a contest, with a score being kept for who wins the most points by arguing.
Treating discussion as competition is one of the most serious barriers to good listening. It greatly inhibits the listener from stretching and seeing a different point of view. It can also be frustrating for the speaker.
Strategy for overcoming this barrier
Although competitive debate serves many useful purposes, and can be great fun, debating should be scheduled for a separate session of its own, where it won't interfere with good listening.
Except in a very rare case where you truly disagree with absolutely everything the speaker is saying, you should avoid dismissing her statements completely. Instead, affirm the points of agreement.
Try to voice active agreement whenever you do agree, and be very specific about what you disagree with.
A good overall listening principle is to be generous with the speaker. Offer affirmative feedback as often as you feel comfortable doing so. Generosity also entails clearly voicing exactly where you disagree, as well as where you agree.
#4 - Trying to influence or impress