Factors That Affect My Ability To Listen Effectively

When listening do I have to hear, imbibe, interpret and fully grasp what the other person is saying? Well…..Yes! You need to hear, imbibe, interpret and fully grasp what the other person is saying! That’s why listening is referred to as a skill, it’s hard!

Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. Courtesy skillsyouneed
It doesn’t mean you have to agree and totally take on the speakers point of view though.
A person who receives and understands information or an instruction, and then chooses not to comply with it or to agree to it, has listened to the speaker, even though the result is not what the speaker wanted. Courtesy wikipedia

One’s ability to listen is very important in the individuals growth and maybe in the growth of an entire nation.

Picture this: A whole generation of people who don’t know how to listen, that can’t take in any knowledge or wisdom from it’s elders via that medium would just fall into the same mistakes from the past if proper care is not taken

I think we can all picture now the importance of listening but what affects the ability to listen?

There is a whole plethora of reasons why the person next to you is not listening to a word you’re saying, I personally have an issue with listening to private discussions; I naturally tune them out, so I’ll only focus on the handful I think are important.

Let’s address the title of this piece: Factors That Affect My Ability To Listen Effectively. Here’s my concise list;

  1. Environmental Factors
  2. Personal bias
  3. Daydreaming

Environmental factors

You can’t do most things if you’re uncomfortable.

There are only a few people born to be spies while the rest of us normal human beings tend to get distracted by the things going on around them.

Choosing the right location to listen to a video, a song, a talk, a call, determines whether you can hear the conversation to begin with.

The humidity, the amount of breeze, the temperature, et cetera are all important. If it’s too hot or too cold, you’ll be more interested in self-preservation than the person talking.

Personal Bias

Most people claim that they are not biased, but they actually are. The trick is to put that bias aside for one second and actually listen and try to understand what the other person is trying to say; even if you don’t agree with the whole premise of what the person is saying, or you don’t agree with the person entire existence.

Stay calm, keep your ego in check and listen. You might learn something and you might be doing the person a favour, debunking a belief he/she has.

Arguments are healthy….Constructive arguments!


You’re smart, you’ve gotten the whole gist of the “lecture” in the first sentence, you smile and look around to see if anyone else is on your high-train…this might cause you to think about how smart you are or maybe the more boring option where you’re thinking about a time when you experienced what the speaker is talking about.

Of course there are more reasons why we would daydream, this one just satisfies my ego.

I noticed that changing positions, standing up during a google hangout call and taking notes helps too.


Everybody’s method to combat bad listening habits differ but it all starts with one thing — realising that there is an issue and it can be solved.

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