Listening Part II: Why We Struggle to Listen

Listening serves the purpose of not only hearing what someone says but comprehending it as well. However, according to Lucas (2015) there are also several factors that contribute to a person listening poorly. The reasons for poor listening include the following…

  • Poor concentration
  • Concentrating too much
  • Making conclusion in advanced

Poor Concentration

Listening is not always an exciting experience. For this reason, people minds may wander while someone is talking. People normally do not totally stop listening. Instead, they listen, stop listening, and listen again. This indicates that they get bits and pieces of the content, which can actually make things even more confusing.

People can also be distracted for other reasons. For example, people can be distracted by the appearance of the speaker or by the way they talk. We all have stories of times we could not remember what a person said because of what they were wearing or how they said it.

One way to deal with poor concentration is to resist distractions. This can happen through keeping track of what the speaker says. Another tactic is to focus on the message and not the messenger. This means listening rather than looking at how they are dressed. Focusing also works. As a listener. A person can listen for main ideas and evidence for these ideas.

Over Concentrating

The opposite problem of lack of concentration is over concentrating. Sometimes, people try to remember everything that someone said. This is mostly impossible.

When listening, it is usually critical that a person focuses on the main ideas of the speaker and not the details. Focusing on the main ideas provides a convenient summary of what the person said.

Dealing with over concentrating can also be alleviated by learning to take notes. This allows a listener to have an on-hand summary of what was said without be boughed down by details.

Making Conclusion in Advanced

Sometimes, people form opinions and conclusions about a matter before hearing all the information. For example, a boss wants to talk to you. For many, they assume this is bad news. The problem with this is that they do not know what the boss will say. They are making a conclusion before receiving all of the information.

It is important to wait until as much information is received as possible before making conclusions. Failure to do so can lead mistakes in decision-making. Judgment must be suspended until it is appropriate to make a conclusion.


Listening is a major aspect of all fields and occupations. As such, people need to be aware of their need to listening actively, avoid distractions, wait to form conclusions, and develop ways to summarize information. Doing so will help all to appreciate and understand what any speaker is trying to communicate to them.

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