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External Factors in the Listening Filtering Process

For example, if you are attending a lecture on economics and, while in college, you failed an economics course, automatically this information will be filtered into the "I couldn't care less" cells of your brain. On the other hand, if you majored in economics while in college, this lecture will be filtered in a different way. Thus, learning, retention and comprehension will depend on how this information is passed through the brain.

In addition to this filtering process, there are some external factors that also will affect our ability to assimilate and comprehend information. One such factor is the speaker.

If the speaker physically reminds you of your high school algebra teacher and you positively hated algebra, you may be inclined to "hate" this speaker before he utters the first word. Your filters won't let the message through, just as the coffee filter doesn't let the coffee grounds through.

If the speaker delivers his message in a monotone, without any emotion or facial expression, emotionally you as a listener probably will not be too involved. "He's putting me to sleep!" How many times do we leave church, a lecture, a training session uttering the words, "He's not a very good speaker." What we're saying is our emotional or personal expectations have not been satisfied. For the most part, the speaker's message was filtered out.

If the speaker has some annoying habit, such as jingling change in his pocket or looking over the top of his glasses, you can become so focused on the annoying habit that you fail to comprehend the message.