What is 'Blocking' You From Making Successful Connections?
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who just could not get the point of the discussion? You repeated your point in several different ways for them to understand your perspective. They attempt to recap your points to refute what you are saying; however, their paraphrase of your points are wrong. They misunderstood your points in its’ entirety. Frustrated, you begin to question, “Why is it that they just aren’t getting what I am saying?!?!
Successful communication is based on the emotional maturity of the listener. Emotional Intelligence (EI) is important to successful personal and professional communication. It ensures that the listener will listen to hear the speaker in order to understand their perspective. The listener with a high EI will grasp the message communicated by the speaker and demonstrate to the speaker that they are not self-absorbed by showing that they care about the discussion. This requires the listener to participate in active listening to avoid those listening blocks that hinder successful personal and professional connections.
Active listening requires that those involved in conversation engage in a three-step process: paraphrasing, clarifying, and the provision of feedback. Communication requires that you demonstrate that you are actively involved in the conversation by restating what the other party is saying by using your words. Restating what someone else has said in your words is called paraphrasing. Paraphrasing a conversation helps to prevent miscommunication, misleading statements, and misinterpretations. Clarification contributes to broadening the depth of understanding of the conversation as the individual has the opportunity to obtain additional information to fill any gaps in understanding what has been said during the discussion. The person who is able to paraphrase and clarify a discussion will be capable of providing feedback during a conversation once they have a clear understanding of the important points shared by the other party. Feedback provides the opportunity to provide additional information through the expression of your thoughts, feelings, or experience about the topic of discussion.
When you engage in a personal or professional discussion, it is a gamble as to whether or not the other party will hear the important points of the discussion. Let’s face it, we are all guilty of having listening blocks that prevent us from actually hearing people during a discussion. It is important to be aware your listening blocks and potential listening blocks that can hinder others from understanding your perspective.
Here are five listening blocks to consider that may be the barrier causing you frustration during a discussion:
1. Mind Reading – This typical listening block causes the individual to pay less attention to the points of discussion because they are too busy becoming distracted by the vocal tone and body language of the speaker. The person is using the tone of voice and non-verbal communication to fuel their imagination in order to figure out the thoughts and feelings of the speaker. The listener is not listening to the words spoken to gain understanding of the point of view of the speaker.
2. Rehearsing – This listening block is standard during heated discussions as the listener utilizes the time, when they should attempt to ‘hear’ what the speaker is saying, to develop their response to what the speaker is saying. The individual misses out on valuable information because they are not actively engaged in listening to understand the speaker.
3. Filtering – This is another typical listening block that occurs when the listener consistently focuses their attention on the particular content of the conversation more than others. Some information is excluded when considering the perspective of the speaker causing the listener to participate in selective listening. Selective listening requires ignoring information that is of minimal importance to the listener even though it may be of importance to the speaker.
4. Derailing – This listening block is common among those who have a low emotional maturity. These individuals will promptly change the topic of discussion in an effort to avoid any discussion that will result in criticism, or the listener to feel anxious or upset. The listener will attempt to change the subject by making jokes, making distracting comments, or asking irrelevant questions.
5. Daydreaming – This is a common listening block among those who find it difficult to focus on the individual. The focus is on other things that captured the attention of the listener.
There are other barriers to active listening that may hinder you from making a genuine personal or professional connection during a discussion. To learn more about this topic, check out Daring You to Be YOU!: Evaluating Relationships.