What Is The Road Blocks To Effective Listening?


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Frances Bott answered
There are many road blocks to effective listening and they all represent ways in which listeners respond to a speaker who is emotionally wound up. They are not helpful because they do not give the speaker the opportunity to work through what they are feeling.

• Ten common roadblocks to effective listening

Giving advice: This is usually based on the listener's personal experiences, or through the second-hand experience of someone else, such as, 'Oh that happened to Sue and this is what she did...'

Giving a warning: Again this is based on experience, either personal or someone else's.

Presenting a logical argument; this is unhelpful in emotionally charged circumstances.

Giving praise. This can make a situation worse.

Reassuring the speaker: This may pacify the speaker but it is unhelpful because the issue that has upset them in the first place has not been resolved.

Philosophizing: This is too vague.

Psychoanalyzing the situation and the motives behind why certain people have behaved in the way that they have is amateurish and can become gossip.

Diverting the attention of the speaker to other situations leaves their issue completely unresolved.

Criticism can fuel the emotion.

Name calling may appear to be a sympathetic way of showing that the listener is on-side with the speaker but it is unprofessional and childish.

There are other roadblock responses such as attacking, defending, giving sympathy, denying, making threats and ordering.

• Effective listening

All of the above responses can have a place in conversations and communication, but they should not be used as an initial response in the workplace in an emotionally charged situation.

Effective listening means remaining calm and emotionally neutral, and then, in your own words, summarize what you have heard so that the speaker knows that you have understood the situation. This will open up dialog so the situation can be worked through.

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