Identify listening barriers you have experienced, explain their effects, and determine appropriate listening and responding strategies.

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Listening Barrier 1: Lack of Focus – This type of listening barrier occurs when one’s attention is diverted, often due to boredom or fatigue. It can cause important information to be lost or misunderstandings. This can be dealt with by using active listening techniques, such as summarizing and asking questions in order to clarify unclear points.

Listening Barrier 2: Emotional Reactivity – This type of listening barrier is when one’s emotions take over, preventing objective thought and understanding. It can cause one to jump to conclusions without considering other facts. Appropriate strategies for dealing with this include taking a time-out to calm down before responding, focusing on understanding rather than reacting, and using reflective statements like “I understand how you feel” or “It sounds like this was hard for you” to validate the speaker’s feelings before offering solutions.

Listening Barrier 3: Interruptions – This type of listening barrier occurs when one person talks over another or does not allow their opinion to be heard in full. It can cause strained conversations between people and lead to stilted dialogue. The best way to address this problem is to give each participant uninterrupted speech time. Make sure that everyone feels heard and paraphrase what they say at the appropriate points in the conversation.

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