Competitive listening happens when a person is more focused on delivering their point of view on a topic than actually paying attention to others' points of view. Also, in this case the listening is focused only on aspects that can lead to an attack and dominate the conversation.
Competitive can also mean pretending to listen to the conversation and waiting for an opening to give an aggressive comeback to prove the point of the person. This type of person is only half-focused on the conversation because their full focus is already on the response they want to give. Usually, they do more talking than listening. This behavior can lead to a close mindset that can become a barrier in communication, teamwork, and being a good listener.
Common Listening Barriers
- Boredom can be one of the barriers. People can find it hard to connect with the other persons talking or with the subject.
- Internal issues. Some are often distracted during a conversation by the way they feel at that moment. Headaches, hunger, or just feeling well can lead to a listening barrier—a more natural approach to avoid the situation better, discussion after a break to rest.
- Already knowing the subject can make the listener put up a barrier because they already know what is talking about, and they know the answers already. The listener can find it time-consuming and repetitive and become annoyed with the fact that he/she had to go through it again.
- Environmental distractions are one of the most common things that can prevent people from actually listening. They will focus on the objects that are around them and stop listening to the subject.
- If the listeners have any bias or prejudice regarding the speaker or subject, it is more likely that they will focus more on disapproving than actually listening to other opinions.
- Some words can be red flags for listeners. These can put a barrier in listening and become inactive and not paying attention to the subject anymore, or these can become a trigger in disapproval.
- Attention span issues are a problem in listening. If someone suffers from a medical condition that makes listening more difficult for them and interrupts, make sure that they heard what is said. Usually, this can lead to a problematic understanding for other participants because of the interruptions.