Conquer Listening Barriers: Unstick from Keywords | #peopleskills

Conquer Listening Barriers: Do You Get Stuck on Keywords?

Most everyone can list out common listening barriers. Surrounding noise, anger, and fatigue always make the list. You can conquer listening barriers like these with rest, settling the anger, and quieting the noise. There is one listening barrier that often operates without your awareness.

Getting stuck on keywords that you frequently hear.

Conquer Listening Barriers: Image is a head blindfolded w/ book attached.

Conquer Listening Barriers: Unstick from Keywords. Image by Cliff via Flickr.

Image by Cliff via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Conquer Listening Barriers: Unstick from Keywords

Think of words that immediately capture your attention. Do they also trap your listening because you’ve heard them so often?


As I teach technical support teams how to conquer listening barriers with customers, I give them this frequent customer request to assess:

The customer says, “I had trouble logging in all morning. Now I’m logged in and this isn’t working.” A few listen to whole description and aren’t blocked by the keywords ‘trouble logging in’. They work to understand what isn’t working.

Several get stuck on those keywords and mistakenly work on getting the customer logged in. Not surprisingly, the customer gets frustrated and upset.


Conquer Listening Barriers of Keywords

  • List the keywords that most often trap your listening.
  • Question yourself when you hear those keywords to stop your assumptions.
  • Restate what you think you’ve heard. Other’s feedback helps conquer your listening barriers.

What keywords have blocked your listening?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:

Listening Beyond Our Boundaries
Listening Responsibility: 5 Reasons People Interrupt Us

©2016 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


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I invite your questions, welcome your wisdom, and look forward to working with you.
~Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

4 Responses to “Conquer Listening Barriers: Unstick from Keywords | #peopleskills”

  1. Khalid says:

    Hi Kate,

    I relate so much to your technical support example because I live this every day 🙂

    We get so much of these tickets from our service desk who sometimes fail to listen to the issue and analyze it before concluding it’s cause. Partial because we don’t give proper training to our first line supoort and others because we don’t keep them updated by our changes but what you said never came to mind as a cause 🙂

    Thanks for the enlightment


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Communication and follow-through are so key Khalid. All areas of support must work together and it all starts with listening to the customer.

      If your org. every wants customer service training, I would be pleased to discuss it with you. I deliver training via video-conference as well so it reduces the expense of travel.

      Best regards,

  2. Quieting the noise is one of my go to strategies. Thanks.

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