Nonlistening creates great problems for both the sender and receiver creating obstacles for understanding and interpreting of information (Wood 2003, p. 194). The three forms of nonlistening are selective, pseudolistening and ambushing. Also, researchers identify monopolizing, defensive and literal nonlistening. Pseudolistening can be explained as a type of listening when the receiver does not give full attention to the task of sensing the message. He/she recognizes words and phrases but, in most cases, cannot repeat the information send to him. In this case, it is important to note that the amount of time a person has to engage in the listening process also will affect the outcome. For instance, pseudolistening is typical for long meetings and conferences when the audience is ‘oversaturated’ with information (Wood, 2003, p. 194).
If the message is not assigned significance, it is likely to be ignored. Frequently, messages about safety or work rules “go in one ear and out the other,” according to people who are in charge of safety. Selective type means that a receiver pays attention and recognizes only some words and phrases important to him. Choosing to concentrate on the boss’s message, rather than a co-worker’s simultaneous message, is a normal occurrence in any organization. Very often, I listen to news paying no attention to minor events such as weather conditions in Africa or agriculture news but when they report important events such as floods or storms, car or plane crashes I start to listen to actively recognizing every words and message (Wood, 2003, p. 196). Ambushing type means that a person is waiting for a word or phrase he can reject or oppose (Wood, 2003, p. 197).
A listener may be so apathetic or hostile that he or she does not even pick up on the message. One way to prevent being changed is to refuse to listen, or to alter the message as it is received. When I do not agree with my grandmother or a friend, I just react to some words or phrases I disagree with. In general, nonlistening becomes a barrier for effective interaction, communication and task performance (Wood 2003, p. 195-196). In contrast, active listening provides credence to the other person’s point of view and feelings, and will enhance the ongoing transactions between colleagues, or superiors and subordinates.
1. Wood, J.T. (2003). Interpersonal Communications. Wadsworth Publishing.