Everyone in the organization, from the top to the bottom, should strive to communicate more effectively. According to research, we spend 7 out of every 10 minutes that we are awake communicating, and that communication time is devoted 9 percent to writing, 16 percent to reading, 30 percent to speaking, and 45 percent to listening. Are you a good listener? When report cards are given out for how well we listen, however, very few of us would receive passing grades. Barriers to listening include assuming a subject is uninteresting and tuning out, focusing on how something is said rather than on what is being said, reacting too quickly before the message is completed, picking up on emotional words and not hearing the rest of the message, listening only for facts rather than trying to absorb ideas, allowing yourself to be distracted, and avoiding listening to subjects that you don’t understand. Everyone must learn to overcome these barriers.
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Christopher Avery says
Listening is a function of attention. Since our ears and other senses work fine when we are within range, then whether we listen has to do with where we are pointing our attention, also known as focus.
Sometimes I call the acts of not listening “reloading”. The fun visual is of a spaghetti western cowboy reloading his 6-shooter so he can be ready to fire during the next gap of silence.
Jenn Swanson says
Great list of barriers! I did a podcast a while back on how to better listen, as I think it is a dying artform. How many times do you see couples walking down the street, each on their separate cell phones? I see my own teens having a “visit” with one another, and all the while looking down at their mobile devices. There are so many distractions that we have forgotten how to focus and give our undivided attention to each other…and that’s going to be problematic. Here’s the episode…I’d love comments.