Roadblocks to Listening
12 Roadblocks to Good Listening
Roadblocks are barriers to good listening as they hinder or limit reciprocity and make further communication difficult and sometimes impossible.
Although most of us believe that we practice good listening, what we actually do in conversations is quite the opposite.
One way to understand the practice of good listening is to first know what it is not. To describe what the practice of good listening is not,12 roadblocks are revised from what Thomas Gordon (1974) identifies as twelve roadblocks to communication.
They are twelve ways in which people often respond instead of listening well, sometimes even with the intention of being a good listener.
Directing involves telling someone what to do, as if giving any of the following order or command:
- You’ve got to right your wrongs!
- Hold up tightly!
- Stop being pessimistic!
- Go right back there and tackle the problem!
Warning is an act which involves pointing out the risks or dangers of what someone is doing. Considering the following, it can also serve as a threat.
- You’ll be sorry, if you do that.
- Don’t you see the implication in all this.
- Doing it your own way might not work this time around.
- You’d better control your emotion.
Advising involves making suggestions and providing solutions, usually with the objective of offering help, as follows:
- If I were in your shoes, here’s what I would do …
- Have you given it a thorough thought?
- One thing you could try is?
- How about do it this way …
Persuading consists in lecturing, arguing, giving reasons, or trying to convince with logic. It usually takes the following forms:
- If you think about it you’ll realize that …
- Yes, but don’t you see that …
- Now let’s think this through. The facts are …
- It’s the right thing to do, and here’s why …
Moralizing consists in telling people what they should do, usually in the following forms:
- You really should …
- You need to …
- It’s your responsibility to …
- I think you ought to …
Judging usually takes the form of blaming, criticizing, or simply disagreeing.
- You let things got this way!
- You’re still asleep at ten o’clock in the morning?
- No, you’re wrong about that.
- Well, what did you expect?
Agreeing usually sounds like taking sides with the person, perhaps approving or praising, as follows:
- Yes, you’re absolutely right.
- Good for you!
- That’s what I would do, too.
- You’re such a good mother.
8. Shaming or Ridiculing
Shaming or ridiculing is when attaching a name or stereotype to what the person is saying or doing.
- That’s a stupid act!
- How could you do such a thing?
- You really ought to be ashamed of yourself.
- You’re being so selfish!
Analyzing offers a reinterpretation or explanation of what the person is saying or doing.
- You don’t really mean that.
- Do you know what your real problem is?
- You’re just trying to make me look bad.
- I think what’s actually going on here is …
Probing is when questions are asked to gather facts or press for more information.
- When did you first realize that?
- What makes you feel that way?
- Where was the last place you saw it?