In this blog, we will talk about two critical factors that can hinder communication. To ensure good communication, whether that’s in business or your personal life, the two factors we discuss in this article will need to be addressed.

Active Listening

The first of the two factors is active listening or lack thereof. It’s no secret that most of us have periods of simply not listening to something we should be listening to. This may seem obvious but listening is in fact different to the act of hearing. Hearing is the physical function of our ears. Listening is what our brain does. There are many contributing factors to why people have poor listening behaviours or habits. Listed below are just a few reasons why listening may be difficult for some.

  • They may feel distracted in their current environment.
  • The other person’s body language may be putting them off.
  • The history of the relationship may cause someone to tune out.
  • They may have unresolved issues with the person they’re conversing with.
  • There could be a lack of interest in the subject.
  • The other person may be talking too quickly for them to understand.
  • The listener may have personal prejudices or judgments of the other person
  • There may simply just be personality differences that cause a break in communication.

You may find that any or all of these issues could be getting in the way of communication. Try observing the other person’s non-verbal signs while you talk to them, they’ll quickly tell you whether they’re listening to you or not. If you’re in any doubt that they’re not listening, try and ask them a question relating to your conversation. If the person doesn’t answer the question, you can assume they’re not really paying attention.

This is where skills to improve listening skills can really come into play.

  • Try to stay focused on the other person.
  • Look for the main theme of the other person’s message.
  • Keep focused on their key or major points.
  • Try and control any distractions.
  • Make sure you stay in the present.
  • Keep lots of eye contact, and use responses such as, “I see,” “Uh-huh,” “Hmmm,” “Really?”.

Overall, improved listening will have a huge positive impact on all of your relationships. Being a good listener is one of the greatest compliments you can pay someone.

Hidden Agendas

The second important factor that can break down communication is hidden agendas. In reality, every relationship has a hidden agenda. There are always things that aren’t shared between people simply to avoid conflict or hurting the other person’s feelings. It’s important to remember that people don’t always say what they mean or what they’re feeling. Their attitudes and their issues are usually hidden. This is usually because if a relationship doesn’t feel safe and you feel you can’t truly share what’s on your mind due to fears of rejection or criticism, most people will choose to edit their message. Therefore, if someone wanted to edit their message, they would use words that avoid sharing the real issue. Thus, it’s easy to see how hidden agendas can confuse and possibly break down communication.

No matter if it’s within a business or in personal relationships, if too much is hidden, the relationship is at stake. Relationships are ultimately dynamic, they’re never static. Additionally, one of the main causes of stress is repressing feelings that you need to express. This is why you should get rid of your hidden agendas and express your true feelings. Otherwise, if you keep your feelings repressed, they will easily negatively affect other areas of your life.

Additionally, hidden agendas within businesses seem to destroy companies from the inside out. That’s why creating a safe environment for everyone to express their true feelings, rather than letting them fester and create negative impacts on your business or your life, is essential to maintaining a good level of communication. The best policy is to always get things off your chest to avoid them seeping into other areas of your life.

If you’re looking for extra guidance in your business or within your personal life, speak to ActionCOACH today!