The importance of listening in solving conflicts
- Why it is crucial in solving social issues

2 Aug 2021

Curtain Hug

Conflicts arise due to clashes of interest, disagreements, or opposing ideas,
creating division between people or groups. They aren’t necessarily personal
conflicts that can have racial, class, caste, political roots too, making them part of
the society. So, how does one resolve disputes? The answer to the above question is
communication skills and listening, and this article focuses on the significance of
listening.
Conflicts continue as both sides are hell-bent on proving or saying their points,
rephrasing points instead of hearing the other’s point of view. Paying attention to
words said is crucial for providing the perspective of other people. When you better
understand a person’s needs, emotions, and viewpoint, finding a middle ground and
getting a solution that satisfies both sides is easier and more efficient. Moreover,
resolving conflicts in such a way increases respect and strengthens the bond
between people. Lastly, listening skills can solve social problems creating a deeper
agreement between opposing individuals and a flow instead of close-mindedness. It
also plays a role in social and cultural evolution, new inventions, economic
advancement, and much more.
Types Of Listening
● Active Listening- The listener pays attention, understands, responds, and
remembers and observes nonverbal cues, intonation, timing, and paraphrases
as feedback.
● Reflective Listening- In this, one understands the speaker’s idea, then offering
the thought back to the speaker to confirm that the concept is understood
perfectly.
● Empathetic Listening- This gives an outlet for sharing emotions before sharing
experiences, accepting new perspectives on topics causing emotional
trauma.

For counseling, training, and solving conflicts, one uses active listening. It differs
from the other methods- Reflective Listening and Empathetic Listening.
Active Listening Technique
It has four parts:-
● Comprehending- Comprehension implies sharing of intent between two
parties and is the first step in listening. The second step involves talking
segmentation of words.
● Retaining- In this step, understanding, absorption, and holding information in
the brain occurs during active listening. In short, the extraction of the
meaning of words takes place and retains in the brain.
● Responding- active listening is a two-way process, so responding adds action
to a one-sided conversation. Moreover, it makes sure that the opinion of the
speakers is perceived correctly.
● Assessment- For assessment of active listening, one uses the Active listening
observation scale(ALOS).
Aside from the above four, the listeners also observe non-verbal cues of the speaker
through the study of body posture and motion, tone of words. Overall, the listener
studies the speaker’s body language with pinpoint accuracy.
Listening Barriers
LIsetining barriers are blocks that prevent the listener from accurately listening to
the speaker. These are a few of them:-
● Rehearsing- In this, the listener is more focused on preparing the answer
rather than listening.
● Filtering- This occurs When the listener focuses on what they expect to hear
and tune out other aspects of the conversation.
● Advising- The listener focuses on problem-solving, building pressure to
resolve the dilemma.
● Hunger and Fatigue- These may cause the listener irritation, making them
unable to listen to the speaker properly.
● Ambushing- In this, one listens to someone else’s argument for its weaknesses,

ignoring their strengths.
● Shift Response- The speaker shifts response in the conversation to fasten
attention on their position.
● Non-verbal cues- Not everyone can understand the non-verbal cues implied
by the speaker, making it a perpetual barrier.
Overcoming Barriers
To overcome these barriers, the listeners should keep aside their emotions and
completely concentrate on the speaker. Moreover, there should be no external (like
loud noises) or internal (hunger and fatigue) distractions. Lastly, note body
language, stress, and intonation of words and clarify ideas not understood.
Conclusion
Overall, listening to what the speaker has to say shows the argument from their
point of view. One can recognize the problem and solve it accordingly, but the
listening barriers prevent it. These barriers, when overcome, resolve social conflicts
leading to a better society.