Listening Blockages

Listening Blockages
These are things which inhibit the way we listen and affect the way we perceive the information being portrayed.
We are often guilty of critically evaluating what is being said before fully understanding the message that the speaker is trying to communicate.  The result is that assumptions are made and conclusions reached about the speaker's meaning that might be inaccurate.  This and other types of ineffective listening lead to misunderstandings and a breakdown in communication.
Barriers and bad habits to effective listening can include:
  * Trying to listen to more than one conversation at a time, this includes having the television or radio on while attempting to listen to somebody talk; being on the phone to one person and talking to another person in the same room and also being distracted by noise in the immediate environment.
  * We may find the communicator attractive/unattractive and we pay more attention to how we feel about the communicator and their physical appearance than to what they are saying. Perhaps we simply don't like the speaker - we may mentally argue with the speaker and be fast to criticize, in our head.
  * We are not interested in the issue being discussed and become bored.
  * Not focusing and being easily distracted, fiddling with hair, fingers, a pen etc. or gazing out of the window or focusing on objects other than the speaker.
  * Feeling unwell or tired, hungry, thirsty or needing to use the toilet.
  * Identifying rather than empathizing -¬†understanding what we are hearing but not putting ourselves in the shoes of the speaker. As most of us have a lot of internal self-dialogue we spend a lot of time listening to our own thoughts and feelings - it can be difficult to switch the focus from 'I' or 'me' to 'them' or 'you'. Effective listening involves opening our mind to the views of others and attempting to feel empathetic.
  * Sympathizing rather than empathizing - we sympathies when we feel...