Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Reasons For Poor Listening

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Listening effectively is hard work.The physical changes that occur during careful listening show the effort it takes: Heart rate quickens, respiration increases,and body temperature rises.20 Notice that these changes are similar to the body’s reaction to physical effort.This is no coincidence, because listening carefully to a speaker can be just as taxing as more obvious efforts.You can manage the effort that’s required to listen well if you prepare yourself for the task. If you know that passive listening won’t be enough, you can invest the energy to understand others. 

The amount of speech most of us encounter every day makes careful listening to everything we hear impossible. As many of us spend as much as one-third of the time we’re awake listening to verbal messages—from teachers, coworkers, friends, family, salespeople, and total strangers. This means we often spend five hours or more a day listening to people talk. It is  impossible for us to keep our attention totally focused for that amount of time. Therefore,we have to let our attention wander at times.

Listening carefully is also difficult for a physiological reason. The average person speaks between 100 and 140 words per minute. Thus,we have a great deal of mental “spare time” to spend while someone is talking. But instead of listening we are tempted thinking about personal interests, daydreaming, planning a rebuttal, and so on.

Another reason why we don’t always listen carefully is that we’re often wrapped up in personal concerns. We give more importance to  our  messages than others are sending. Everyone’s mind wanders at one time or another, but excessive preoccupation is both a reason for and a sign of poor listening.

 The world in which we live often presents distractions that make it hard to pay attention to others. The sound of traffic, music, others’ speech, You can often listen better by insulating yourself from outside distractions. This may involve removing the sources of noise: turning off the television, shutting the book you were reading, closing the window, and so on. In some cases, you and the speaker may need to find a more hospitable place to speak in order to make listening work.

Sometimes a person’s listening ability suffers from a hearing problem—After a hearing problem has been diagnosed, it’s often possible to treat it. The real tragedy occurs when a hearing loss goes undetected

 We often give others a mental brush-off because we assume their remarks don’t have much value. When one business consultant asked some of her clients why they interrupted colleagues, she received the following responses: My idea is better than theirs. The egotism behind these comments is stunning. Dismissing others’ ideas before considering them may be justified sometimes, but it’s obviously a mistake to rule out so much of what others say . . . especially when you consider how you would feel if other people dismissed your comments without hearing you out. The key to success seems to be the ability to speak well. Another apparent advantage of speaking is the chance it provides to gain the admiration, respect, or liking of others—or so you may think. Tell jokes, and everyone may think you’re a real wit. Men typically interrupted conversations far more than women. Their goal was usually to control the discussion. Women interrupted for very different reasons: to communicate agreement, to elaborate on the speaker’s idea, or to participate in the topic of conversation.

 CULTURAL DIFFERENCES The way members of different cultures communicate can affect listening.24 For instance, one study of young adults in various countries showed marked differences in listening preferences. Young Germans favored an action-oriented approach: They engaged speakers directly and were highly inquisitive.This style contrasts with the indirect approach of high-context Japanese listeners.Young Israelis were also less vocal than Germans and focused on careful analysis of others’statements.By contrast,young Americans emphasized the social dimension of a conversation and were more focused on how much time a conversation was taking.

 MEDIA INFLUENCES A final challenge to serious listening is the influence of contemporary mass media, especially television and radio. A growing amount of programming consists of short segments: news items,commercials,music videos, and so on. (Think of Sesame Street and MTV.)