Reasons why we don’t listen effectively

LISTEN is a very important word, many people misinterpret it for the word HEAR. To Listen means to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing, to pay attention, give ear. A lot of people hear but they do not know or do not listen at all. There is a reason for that; the reasons are:
1. Personal bias: Bias can take on many forms such as religious, ethnic, etc. When an Individual is not culturally aware, personal prejudice can affect how well we listen and how we perceive what the speaker is saying. Anger can also cause distortion of the message. As good communicators, personal bias and anger must be put aside in order to interpret the message. Be willing to listen to new ideas. Make eye contact with the speaker, use nonverbal communication, such as nodding your head or smiling to show that you are interested. Even if you do not agree with the speaker’s message, showing acceptance will let the speaker know that you have received their message.
2. Environmental factors: Environmental factors such as noise, temperature, and uncomfortable seating can cause us to focus our attention on other factors beside what the speaker is saying. Try to control environment factors whenever possible. Try adjusting the thermostat, finding another seat, or moving to a quiet place to continue the conversation. It is hard to focus attention when we are constantly distracted by outside forces.
3. In ability to retain what was heard: As we receive a message, we must attend to it or we will lose it. Some people have trouble remembering points to discuss when the speaker is talking. Try taking notes as the speaker talks, or use a cue to help you remember what you were going to say. If you find your attention wandering, concentrate on what the speaker is saying, and rehearse how you will answer, or what you are going to say to keep in your mind on the task at hand. Ask questions to clarify and to become involved in the conversation. Concentration helps you receive accurate information and indicates that you are interested in what speaker is saying.
4. Rehearsing a response: Many times we catch the drift of what the speaker is saying and we begin to rehearse a response, thereby missing parts of the message. Other times we may be anticipating our turn to speak and will spend time mentally or physically reviewing notes and will miss what the speaker has said.
5. Daydreaming: We are capable of receiving and processing information more rapidly than a speaker can deliver it. This causes us to have spare time to think or daydream, and if we don’t concentrate on the message being delivered, we will find ourselves drifting or daydreaming.
6. Hot words: We all have certain words that we react to. Sometimes when a speaker uses a hot word in his or her message we will concentrate more on the meaning or the word, or its implications for us. Consequently, we tend to lose sight of what is being said by the speaker.
7. Through the use of filtering: Many times we will be asked to attend a seminar where we exhibit little or no interest in the topic. As listeners, we tend to listen to get an overview of what is going to be presented and then simply tune out the rest of message.