What makes listening so difficult?

Allow me to define “listen”:

  • acknowledge that someone wants to communicate with you
  • take in what the person is communicating
  • actively work to fully understand what is being communicated within your own schema
  • identify steps you can take to act upon what you heard
  • take said steps

I guess I partially answered my own question – there are a lot of steps.  But honestly, none of them are all that difficult.  Or are they?  Would you add steps to the definition?  Are there any in particular that cause people to stumble?  Is it more about our society or our organizational structures than about individuals?  Why is such a basic function of living as a human being so difficult to do well?

Seriously, I’d like to know.  I’d also like to not delve into discussion about improving listening just yet – I think that’s different enough to put on hold till another post.

Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts!