The Most Common Listening Problem is

The Most Common Listening Problem is



1 of the most of import skills required of anyone who wants to be an excellent communicator is that of being able to listen effectively. However, there are many people who seem to lack this powerful and vital resource which results in a less than perfect advice. It is interesting to notation that our studies over the last 10 years indicate that many people believe that they are good or dandy listeners – until they do our test! While there are many factors that can influence the efficacy of listening in this brief commodity I intend to focus on the most important eight principal problems. Nosotros believe that the elements are all of equal importance.


Definition: Listen. (intentional)


To make an effort to hear something with thoughtful attention; To pay attending; to mind; to take notice of and act on what someone says.

Whenever nosotros talk with someone else about an experience, usually our exact clarification volition delete a great bargain of that experience – often because we assume shared cognition &/or experiences about the topic. Our words take a very complex & richly detailed feel combining visual, auditive & kinesthetic elements and summarize it then what is left is a brief outline of the total feel. Whenever we are involved in conversation, we get together information from the other parties involved. Notwithstanding, we likewise depict on our own feel in making an internal representation of what the other person says in order to:
a) understand it.
b) know what we lack and need to know in society to complete our internal representation.

Oftentimes, at that place is a tendency for both us and the other parties involved to use internal filters that delete, distort or generalize the data beingness given and it is these elements which can adversely affect the efficacy of our listening skills. Some of the near common problems that tin can occur from these filters are:


Problem ane: The Law of Closure.


When we are involved in oral / audible communication, information technology is impossible for us to give /receive all of the information required and so as senders / receptors, we have a tendency to make certain assumptions about what is being said based on the context, the content, the other participant(due south), etc. When sure elements are missing, we instinctively tend to fill-in the “blanks” with information drawn from our own experiences and then that instead of having partial information, we demand to experience that we have “all” of the information – even if it is wrong! – This, in turn, tin atomic number 82 us to draw inappropriate or incorrect conclusions about the bulletin existence delivered and answer in an erroneous fashion.

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Problem two: Constabulary of Field.


In guild to mind effectively, we need to exist able to focus on the person nosotros are communicating with and concentrate on what they are saying (and Non maxim) and any distractions such every bit the move of people in the aforementioned area, ringing telephones, etc., are things that may preclude us from finer completing this task. This is noticeable during presentations & meetings when someone stands up during a presentation and leaves the room – the audition gets distracted, cease listening to the presenter and focus on the person moving thereby possibly missing an of import part of the message from the presenter. The same result occurs when a mobile phone rings or a person starts using a tablet or laptop. People usually focus on the moving object instead of the static one!


Trouble 3: Prejudice


A common trouble that occurs in listening is that of prejudice; either conscious or subconscious. This might be related straight to the other participant(due south) based on our previous experiences with them either directly or indirectly or based on the topic being discussed, the environment, our own emotional or concrete state or other factors. A frequent example of this tin be found in the handling of politicians past people opposed to their views. We need to exist aware of our prejudices and larn how to separate the person we are communicating with from the topic of conversation (separate the person from the problem!).


Problem iv: Selective Listening


Unfortunately, we often enter into a chat with either our own “game-plan” about how we are going to control the conversation in terms of topic(s), structure, duration, etc., or preconceived ideas of how information technology volition develop instead of actually listening to our interlocutor. This means that we tend to listen for what nosotros want to hear instead of what is actually said and filter out anything which does non fit into our plan of the communication or our ain ideas.


Problem 5: Fourth dimension


To mind finer, we need to be able to dedicate time to the chore. Any chat where i or both parties are worried about the time available is bound to suffer from listening problems. In a business organisation context, we have to ensure that we take programmed sufficient fourth dimension to be able to communicate effective with the other parties involved.

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Trouble vi: Logical structure / Congruence


Most people generally have a tendency to expect, and look for, logical sequences or construction in their advice. In an aural / oral conversation, if we believe that “A” is truthful, and “B” is also truthful, and so “C” and every post-obit element must logically fit with the information preceding & post-obit it. If this does not occur it conflicts with our expectations and frequently creates incongruence which leads to a block in the advice.


Problem 7: Presuppositions (Going across)


Some people have a trend to extrapolate or go beyond what they hear while others tend to remain constrained by the actual “data” that they have obtained during the chat. It is of import that we are aware both of our ain tendencies to practice this equally well every bit that of our interlocutor(s) and ensure that if we have a tendency to get beyond the data given that nosotros communicate this to our interlocutor(s) and cheque if they are in agreement.


Problem 8: Questions


In club to resolve many of the bug indicated above, we need to be able to elegantly inquire questions to clarify the unclear elements in the communication. While the traditional “open up” and “closed” questions serve some purpose, an excellent model to follow is that of the

“Meta Model”

which is a set of questions that allow you to gather information that clarifies someone’south experience, in order to get a fuller representation of that experience.

Effective listening tin only occur when there is an understanding about how experiences are stored in memory and communicated to other people. The concept that “What goes in is what comes out” is incorrect and to be an effective and elegant communicator, it is necessary to know how to mind properly and enquire the right questions to uncover the elements dealt with by the filters of deletion, distortion and generalization.

© Ian Brownlee, Brownlee & Assembly, S.L., Madrid, Spain.

About ianbrownlee

Ian Brownlee, the founder of Brownlee & Associates has been actively involved in the field of interpersonal & transcultural communication since 1977. He has worked in universities and companies in the following countries: Laos, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea, Nihon, Singapore, Kingdom of saudi arabia, France, Italian republic, England, The United states & Spain, every bit a teacher, university lecturer, trainer, researcher & consultant. In addition, his experience in living in these countries, and studying the language & communication and interaction styles of each has aided him in reaching a real agreement of intercultural and transcultural differences and how to resolve them. Ian Brownlee has various masters degrees from British Universities: One in Linguistics & Instruction English Overseas from Manchester University, one in Training & Evolution with a specialization in the expanse of Communication and Developed learning awarded by the University of Sheffield. He has likewise gained professional person qualifications in Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy from various professional organizations. During his academy career he has too studied elements of Folklore, Organizational psychology, Educational psychology, Psycholinguistics and Kinesics. He is a licensed Practitioner, Chief Practitioner, and Master Trainer in NLP. as well every bit existence a trainer in Ericksonian Hypnosis. He is a member of a broad range of professional organizations involved in Training, Applied Psychology, Hypnotherapy & Ericksonian Hypnosis, Psychotherapy, Interpersonal Communication & Cross-cultural Communication. He is also recognized by the Program on Negotiation, Harvard University, equally a Negotiation Skills Trainer & Mediator and has been a collaborator on diverse projects with the programme, and as such is in great need equally a negotiation consultant for some of the largest multinationals operating worldwide. His wide experience gained in multinational organizations in positions such every bit Manager of Training, Communications Consultant and Negotiator / Mediator has helped many people to learn and apply new methods of negotiating skills and advanced advice techniques both in their private and professional person lives. He has published diverse articles & books related to the field of interpersonal communication and he is the author of all the courses taught by Brownlee & Assembly. He has lived and worked in Spain since 1985, initially as a trainer / Special Assistant in a multinational pharmaceutical visitor and then equally the Training Manager for a multinational company involved in Clinical Analysis & Nuclear Medicine. Brownlee & Associates was formed in 1991 and currently has a small, highly-trained staff. While based in Madrid, courses are given earth-wide either in English or Spanish. Brownlee & Associates currently work with leading international companies in the areas of pharmaceuticals , Information systems, luxury products, food & beverages, etc.

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The Most Common Listening Problem is

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