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Chapter 31. Control Distractions

Comedian George Carlin once asked, “Aren’t you glad the phone wasn’t invented by Alexander Graham Siren?” A telephone is one of the biggest distractions to listening in a business environment, because unseen others choose when the phone will ring. If the phone were the only distraction, we could probably learn to tolerate it. Every day we must deal with many internal, external, visual, and auditory distractions.

To be good listeners, we must control our responses to distractions or they will control us. Distractions affect the ability to listen well because of their variety, novelty, or intensity. External distractions include the telephone, background noise, unfamiliarity with vocabulary, seating, lighting, etc. Internal distractions might be headaches, hunger, fatigue, or a current emotional state such as anxiety.


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