Home
 
Info, Blogs, Contact & Login
Learn
Tests

How to Recognise and Overcome Barriers to Effective Listening

From the ZandaX Communication Blog

Articles to help you improve your communications

Home  >  Blogs Home  >  Development Blog  >  Communication Articles  > 
How to Recognise and Overcome Barriers to Effective Listening

How to Recognise and Overcome Barriers to Effective Listening

A post from our Communication blog

      Written by Ronnie Peterson
We've already mentioned before that listening is one of the most important aspects of communication. In fact, in our communication skills course, a large part of the training focuses on active listening.

Unfortunately, in today's world people have lost the desire and the patience to listen to what others have to say. Most of us are too engrossed in our own thoughts, too eager to have our own say to actually pay attention.However, listening is very important. Not only does developing your listening skills allow you to gain access to the complete information and make you much less likely to misunderstand or misinterpret things, but it will also help you to work well with others.

Effective listening is not as easy as it sounds, though, and there are several factors that can affect how well you can listen to and understand others. To help you recognise these, I've made a list of a dozen of the  most common barriers to effective listening and how to overcome them.

1) Distractions

The most obvious and probably the most significant barriers to listening in today's world are various distractions.

Sadly, many of us can't seem to be part of a conversation without constantly glancing at our phone or laptop. Not only is it considered impolite, but it also tells the other person that you're bored and whatever is on your phone is more important to you than this conversation.

Want to Communicate More Effectively?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $119 – limited time offer just $12



As you're distracted, you're also likely to miss important points or information that you might need in the future. When you're having a conversation with someone, it's best to keep these distractions away and focus on the person in front of you.

2) Noise

Another major barrier to communication is noise. Trying to communicate in loud environments is highly ineffective, not to mention nearly impossible.Even if you can manage to communicate with a large amount of background noise, you won't be able to understand much or have a good, meaningful discourse. In situations like this, it's always better to either defer the conversation or move it somewhere quieter.

The issue of background noise is especially common during telephone conversations. For example, many people think they can tackle important conversations while they're commuting.

In most cases, however, the noise levels are too high for effective communication, not to mention the fact that it can cause strain to the person on the other end as well.

3) Interruptions

The fact that nothing good comes from interrupting someone while they're speaking is one of those cardinal rules of communication we're all taught as children.

Unfortunately, that lesson doesn't tend to stick. People are so eager to be heard that sometimes they interrupt conversations to state their own opinion.

However, not only is it considered rude, but it's also one of the biggest barriers to effective listening. To avoid making this mistake, try to wait until the other person has finished talking before saying your own ideas out loud.

4) Prejudice

Prejudice can cloud your judgement and make you turn a blind eye towards valuable information or good people. When you live and work in a multicultural environment, it's vital to leave all your prejudices behind when you're communicating with others.

For example, if you assume a person is unintelligent (or even less intelligent than you) because of the country of his origin, you're blinding yourself. You need to give everyone the benefit of doubt and listen to what they have to say.

5) Lack of interest

Often times, we find ourselves trapped in a conversation that simply can't hold our interest. In such cases, we'll be tempted to drift off in our own thoughts or focus on something else – which, unfortunately, can be a barrier to listening.

Of course, it's not really a good idea to force your attention on a topic you find dreadfully boring. If the discussion isn't important, steer the conversation to a different direction. If it is important, however, try to focus on the relevant points and note them down.

Want to Communicate More Effectively?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $119 – limited time offer just $12



6) Talking too much

This may sound obvious, but the more you're speaking, the less the other person has a chance too.

And if you just keep droning on and on, eventually they'll get bored, and want to end the conversation. Then you'll never get to hear what they were saying.

7) Fear

Fear can be a major barrier to listening. If you're fearful as you listen to somebody speak, the chances are that you're going to get defensive.

This results in two things. The first is that you're already preparing to defend yourself, so not really listening to what else the person's saying.

The second is that you defending yourself results in an argument, and that ends any hopes for a constructive outcome.But what causes fear in communication? It could be something as simple as the anticipation of a reprimand. Your boss starts talking about a subject that you know you haven't completed your work on. So you're expecting to get asked about it, and you're fearful of his reaction when you admit it's not done.

The best advice is to simply breathe, keep calm, and listen. maybe the situation you're fearing doesn't even come up!

8) Speaking too quickly

Each listener will have a certain ability to comprehend what's being said. You can almost compare it to a computer processor. You're listening, and processing everything that's going in.

Sometimes, people may simply be going too fast for the listener to understand.

As the listener, if this does happen, you need to mention it. Get the person to slow down.

As the speaker, it's always worthwhile doing a check every now and again to see that the person is keeping up and is understanding. You may need to slow down!

9) The choice of wording

Whether it's using big words, or industry jargon, it's possible to be saying things that people don't understand.

As the listener, if you find this is happening, you need to be confident enough to clarify what's being said. So ask!

10) Trying to be helpful

Sometimes people try and be helpful as they listen. They're almost finishing the speaker's sentences.

While you think it may be helpful, it can be distracting and off putting. The person may lose their chain of thought, or worse, get annoyed and that destroys the communication.

11) Poor body language

Your body language is meant to both enhance and reinforce the verbal message that you're giving if you're speaking. If you're listening, it's meant to show that you're receptive.

Make sure that your body language is matching your intended message, or you risk sending the wrong message.

12) Knowing the answer

Sometimes, you think you know the answer to what's about to be said or asked. So why listen further? You just need to wait until they ask the question, right?

Well, sometimes you can get that wrong, and are suddenly faced with a different question, and you haven't been listening.

It's better to listen to everything, then have to think of an answer before giving one.

So, that's a dozen different mistakes you can make while listening, and how to overcome each one. Nobody's perfect, so maybe there's one or two that you can touch up on. It's certain to make your communication a whole lot more effective.

Want to Communicate More Effectively?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $119 – limited time offer just $12

Back to the Communication blog

Click the button for more Communication articles.

The ZandaX Personal Development blog

Click a panel for great articles on personal development

ZandaX Blog Contents

Want to see them all? Click to view a full list of articles in our blogs.

Online courses to boost your skills
Click a button to see more about each course
Personal Development
Microsoft Software
 
 
ZandaX online training course logo
ZandaX – Change Your Life ... Today
All content © ZandaX 2021
Close menu element
See how you score on a range of skills that are critical to your well-being and performance
Communication Skill test
Communication Skills
How Can You Communicate Better?
Would you like to see what kind of communicator you are? And how you can improve the effectiveness of your communications?
Likeability test
Likeability
How Much Do People Like You?
Do you sometimes wonder just how likeable you are? And wouldn't you like to see how you can (genuinely) become more likeable?


Time Management test
Time Management
How Can You Make More Use Of Your Time?
Are you frustrated by how easily time slips away? Do you get frustrated when things don't get done just because you run out of time?
Assertiveness test
Assertiveness
Are you Passive, Aggressive or Assertive?
Would you like to know where you fall on the behavior spectrum? Does your response to events sometimes surprise you?


Close menu element
Information & Resources
ZandaX information
Information
Read more about us, our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service
See how we want to help you, and how we make everything easy for everyone
Callback request
ZandaX Blogs
Articles to increase your knowledge and understanding in key areas of your life and career.
Read our blogs on Personal Development, Business Skills and Leadership & Management


Time Management test
Log In
Log in to your online dashboard
View your courses, review what you want and download your workbooks and certificates
Assertiveness test
Contact Us
An easy online form to get in touch
With options for More Information, Customer Service and Feedback


Close menu element
Learn About:
 
Personal Development
 
Leadership & Management
 
Marketing
 
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Project
Microsoft Visio
 

[NOTE: Mouse over the titles above,
then to visit the website pages you want,
click on the links in the right hand panel]
Our courses
We have everything covered: learn all applications at all levels!   All courses are CPD certified.
Microsoft Excel courses
Microsoft Excel Introduction
Microsoft Excel Professional
Microsoft Excel Intermediate
Microsoft Excel Advanced
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Powerpoint Introduction
Microsoft Powerpoint Advanced
 
Microsoft Word courses
Microsoft Word Introduction
Microsoft Word Intermediate
Microsoft Word Advanced
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Access Introduction
Microsoft Access Intermediate
Microsoft Access Advanced
Microsoft Outlook courses
Microsoft Outlook Essentials
 
 
Microsoft Project
Enhance your project management with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Project courses.
Microsoft Project courses
Microsoft Project Introduction
Get a solid foundation in Project software to create solid, resilient project plans.
You don't need prior experience with Project: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Project Advanced
The Advanced course takes you to a level that will put you in complete control of your projects.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Microsoft Visio
Become a Visio master with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Visio courses.
Microsoft Visio courses
Microsoft Visio Introduction
Get a solid base for using Visio to create high quality, impressive diagrams.
You don't need prior experience with Visio: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Visio Advanced
This course will enable you to use Visio to design graphics at the highest level.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Take a look at our new Marketing section which we begin with two great books on Copywriting
... there will be more to follow, so stay tuned!
Copywriting books
Copywriting for Results
A two-book set that will give you all you need to write great copy every time.
Get the first book to learn the process, then the second to see how to apply it to all media types.
  • Copywriting for Results: Your Complete Guide
  • Copywriting for Results: Putting It Into Action
Watch This Space
We have more in the pipeline so be sure to check back soon to see what's new!
More marketing books
Take a look at our new Leadership & Management section which we begin with a superb course on Managing Teams
... there's lots more to follow, so keep in touch!
Team Leadership courses
Team Leadership & Line Management
For practical advice on managing teams for results.
Make your team successful and more positive with tons of real-world techniques that work.
  • Team Management for Line Managers & Supervisors
  • Building High Performing Teams (in production)
Watch Out For More!
We have more courses in the pipeline so check back soon to see what's new!
More team leader courses
Great, easy-to-follow CPD certified courses on skills that will change your life!
Learn How to Stop Wasting Time!
Time Management course
Get more out of every day of your life ...
Boost Your Self Esteem: Be Assertive
Assertiveness course
Learn how to deal with bad behavior
Great Communications = A Happy Life!
Communication Skills course
Supercharge your communications
Improve Your Relationships
Building Relationships course
Learn how to be more likeable!
Get a Plan to Beat Your Stress
Stress Management course
Learn how to reduce & manage your stress
It's the Behavior, Not the Anger!
Anger Management course
Control anger in yourself and other people
Site Cookies
We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better.

You can change your cookie settings in your browser. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

I'm fine with this