OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Poor Listening Skills

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Many people are poor listeners, even in everyday life. They tend to listen and think about something else at the same time. This happens even more frequently when people are in conflict. Rather than carefully attending to what the other person has said, many people think about their response while the other person is talking.

In addition, they tend to interpret things to coincide with the views that they already have. For this reason, they assume they know and understand what other people are saying, because they assume that it corresponds to their own expectations about what the person is likely to say or "should" be saying. Since people in conflict tend to develop hostile and distrustful images of the other, their interpretation of things the other side says or does is also likely to be hostile and distrustful. Ambiguous messages are interpreted in the worst possible way; even clear messages tend to be ignored or disregarded, if they are inconsistent with one's original negative view.

Such poor listening makes good communication almost impossible. No matter how much care one person or group takes to communicate their concerns, values, interests, or needs in a fair, clear, unthreatening way, if the listener is not willing to receive that information in that way, the communication will fail.

Links to Possible Treatments of This Problem:

Active Listening

Dialogic Listening

Communication Skills Improvement


Links to Related Problems:

Inaccurate and Overly Hostile Stereotypes

Inadequate Information Gathering

Failure to Understand an Opponent's Perspective

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu