Avoiding Roadblocks in Listening
May 14, 2011 4 Comments
“Reflective Listening” is using effective active listening skills, that encourage orderly communication and allow one to listen as objectively and un-coercively as possible to another who is speaking.
Reflective listening above all – is about listening– , and giving passive responses and reflection for clarification and encouragement…. as covered in the previous post: “Reflective Listening for improved communication“
Often when one is listening he or she feel compelled to respond. Without realizing, one is introducing his opinion, experiences, advice and assertions. these “Roadblocks” are statements by a listener that impede the progress of reflective listening. Learning to avoid and abstain from “Roadblocks” as much as one can, will make a person a better listener.
Roadblocks to Reflective Listening
Advising or Recommending
“What I would do is…” “What I think you should do is...”
“Perhaps, you should...” “Let me suggest….” “I wouldn’t do….”
Some would argue it is better to allow a person to be his or her own problem solver. Giving an advice may make someone depend on advice, have an excuse if the advice another gives didn’t work out, or they may spend more time debating whether its good advise or not, rather than problem solve themselves.
Warning, Preaching, or Directing
“You must...” “You had better...” “If you don’t …. then..”
“Its your responsibility…” “you have to…”
These statements can make someone feel guilty or obliged, and don’t encourage or clarify communicating.
Psychoanalyzing or Diagnosing
“Your problem is…” “What’s wrong with you is…”
“You don’t mean that…” “What you need is ”
While it might clarify a speakers motive, it may sound threating or confusing. and if one is wrong, it simply impedes communication.
Lecturing and Logic
“Do you realize” “The fact is..” “yes, but...”
Lecturing and using logic is a good idea if you are debating or trying to get your point across, not so good for being objective and open to listening.
Judging good or bad, Criticizing or Approving
“you are just lazy ” “thats a good thing to do”
Statements like this can make people feel inferior or dependent on someones value judgment. these statements can also cut off communication.
Reassuring or Excusing
“Don’t worry...” “you’ll feel better when...” “You’ll be fine… ”
Reassuring isn’t so bad. We want to make people feel better immediately with some words or reassurance. However, as an active listener, one will probably notice that using reflect listening (“you are feeling”..) is more encouraging and empathetic.
Closed or leading questions
“wouldn’t it be best if” “Do you dislike that person...“?
A leading question leads the speaker to answer a particular way. Although direct ,they can interfere with the objectivity and neutrality of listening.
“that happened to me once..“, “that reminds me...”
“lets discuss it later”
Simply says that one is not interested in listening, right now.
I took a training course in active and reflective listening skills some years ago, and like most people, I found it difficult not to use these “Roadblocks”. while listening in a conversation. It just seem natural to talk of my experiences … and t sometimes that does makes for good casual conversation.
However when listening is important, its ok to say nothing. If one is compelled to say something, why not use reflecting and open ended question that are part of listening skills . Sometimes what one abstains from saying is as important as what he or she says.
This list of “roadblocks ” are based on the work of Thomas Gordon‘s P.E.T. and L.E.T.