Listening is an active process where patience, compassion, and determination play significant roles. Human behavior is such that it tends to block out most of the noises in the surroundings. It needs concentration to absorb the words and process its meaning so that it can make some sense. The process of listening promotes participation in a conversation to foster better relationships. It also assists in building trust, strengthening ties, resolving issues and most importantly inspiring people by making them realize you are giving due consideration to the words and are attentive towards the speaker.
Listening is not to be confused with the hearing because the first is an interpretative action that is intentional, whereas the latter is a biological action often done subconsciously. The importance of listening goes far beyond the scope of professional or personal environment. It is a soft skill that gradually cultivates so that it becomes an inherent quality in the human system. It facilitates good self-esteem to optimize productivity.
It is a proven fact that people are least bothered about listening. They tend to forget that hearing is not listening and what you hear you do not have to recap but when you listen you are doing it for effective communication and hence have to recall whatever is being said.
At least 70% – 80% of the people listen without the intent to understand; they want to listen to reply without due consideration about the subject. Listening is an active process where you have to decide to hear consciously, understand the tone, meaning, and body language and lastly respond effectually.
1. Listening develops interpersonal relationships
Listening is often considered a behavioral process where the listener makes a conscious effort to hear and understand the words to respond in a both non-verbal and verbal manner later on. It can happen when two individuals meet where one is the speaker and the other listener or in groups where the majority of people listen to what is said. When the speaker sees that someone is making an effort to listen to his words, it boosts his confidence level. He feels valued, and it encourages respect and trust.
The speaker, in turn, becomes more attuned to the listener and ultimately offers him cooperation at most levels. It is a fact that when people tend to listen the quality of the conversation becomes deeper and better. An intimate and close connection develops that can lead to positive relationships.
It helps the speaker to put across his message more confidently and this results in a meaningful conversation that proves beneficial to both the parties. The importance of listening is that it develops interpersonal relationships and encourages mutual respect and understanding.
2. Listening helps to uncover underlying issues
Listening to a conversation helps in sending a strong message to the person with whom you are interacting. It shows your 100% involvement and your intent to understand and communicate on the given topic. A listener has the ability to influence a person and bring him to his way of thinking without saying a word with the help of non-verbal communication, for instance, a nod here and there and a sigh if displeased or a smile when pleased about the situation.
These non-verbal cues are excellent indicators of an intimate and meaningful conversation and tend to influence the speaker greatly. The listener can learn more about the topic by paying attention to the words along with the body posture of the speaker. He proves persuasive as he can motivate and influence in a manner that he wants to.
The importance of listening is that it helps the listener to uncover hidden and underlying issues that he would not be able to do if he insisted only on speaking because then the speaker would have shut down and it would have been impossible to decipher anything from his verbal or non-verbal communication.
3. Listening develops communicating skills
Listening is an important life skill that is considered fundamental to interactions between human beings. If you are looking to become an excellent communicator, then the first thing you should do is start listening with your eyes and ears open.
An excellent communicator is not the one who can put across his thoughts and convince others forcefully but the one, who listens, understands, grasps and encourages conversation from both ends. It is good listening skills that demonstrate that a person is interested and is listening with the intent to participate.
In most cases, listening has proved to be a crucial factor in encouraging productive communication. It also helps the listener to see the contribution of the other party and whether he is adding any important idea, action or thought to the interaction that will prove meaningful and fruitful in the long run.
The importance of listening is that it develops and hones excellent communicating skills and helps to see things in a different light.
4. Listening helps to gather facts
When someone listens to a conversation, he can collect the information that might have been invisible in other circumstances. The non-verbal communication is as important as the verbal one and helps to absorb facts. Gathering them will keep you in the loop and avoid jumping to unnecessary conclusions. When a person does not assume things, he can make informed decisions without worrying about the hows and whys. His attention is on the things he wants to communicate effectively.
Remember if the listener is intuitive, he will look for the story behind the words so that he can cash in a viable opportunity. The importance of listening is that it helps to gather facts and make discoveries that can have both a direct and indirect impact on the present as well as future dealings.
While listening, it is easy to give your full attention to the speaker so that you can avoid the unnecessary clutter in your surroundings and can see and understand the nuances of the conversation and focus on the smaller things that will ultimately have a greater impact on your decision making. Listening carefully will help you to determine what is not being said and what the facts are.
5. Listening helps to avoid trifling conversation
When two people are bent on speaking, there is less chance of listening. In a conversation, the important facts and information get lost. Most of us tend to be distracted or preoccupied and hence, do not pay much attention to the conversation that is happening with us. Although one tries to look attentive, the listener’s fidgety behavior tells a different story to the speaker. Sometimes people also keep interrupting to put across their point or to ask clarification on some matter.
In such circumstances, the facts get lost, and the conversation takes a downhill turn. The importance of listening is that it helps to avoid trifling conversation so that interested parties can put their onus on things that are relevant and which matter in the scheme of things.
6. Listening helps in better understanding
Listening is a deliberate attempt of a person to comprehend the words and the message behind the words. It is an important skill that assists in minimizing the chances of error as the listener is tuned to every nuance of the speaker. He has been paying attention to learn about the hidden meaning. The importance of listening is that it helps in developing a better understanding of the facts, ideas, and thoughts.
It is a creative force that acts as a magnet and encourages people to open up. The listeners are the actual strategic thinkers as they know the importance of this soft skill and how to gain maximum benefit from it. Most of us do not bother to listen and understand the concerns of others, and this can cause distrust and mishaps during the conversation.
It is important that the speaker can align with your personality, and this is possible only when someone listens and appreciates his thoughts. The simple fact is that everyone wants to be heard and when they sense that someone is actually listening to them it helps to develop a better understanding and mutual respect that can result in finding amicable solutions for every issue.
7. Listening helps in conflict resolution
In an organization, disputes are common. Unhappy clients and customers create a work environment that is not productive for efficient productivity. What happens when employees and customers start speaking or arguing at each other at the same time? This will result in a stand-off where the resolution of any kind seems impossible. The importance of listening in such circumstances is that it will help in conflict resolution.
When the management or the employee of an organization makes an effort to listen to the grievances of the clients or customers, then it will open a path for understanding. When someone feels that he is genuinely being heard he automatically starts to calm down.
It is a fact that listening facilitates an opportunity for problem-solving by minimizing negative feelings. The real concern boosts interpersonal bonding and encourages trust that results in conflict resolution.
8. Listening encourages a better personal life
Successful leaders and entrepreneurs have given the credit of their success to their ability to listen effectually. It is an important skill that is equally beneficial in both personal and professional life. A person who shows the ability to listen is in high demand as other people automatically gravitate towards him.
Conversing with a person who listens to the conversation helps to get a grip on your own words so that the speaker can understand by himself the words and its message and differentiate the right from the wrong.
The person who can listen has a vast social circle with a greater number of friends who want to associate with him on a personal level. The listener helps to boost confidence and improve the self-esteem of the speaker by giving credence to the spoken words.
9. Listening encourages a better professional life
In a professional environment, listening is a skill that is revered by one and all. Every organization is looking to hire an employee that can listen and understand things. It is the key to effective communication and organizations are often offering training to new and existing employees to acquire and hone this soft skill.
The process of listening involves putting the onus on the underlying message, understanding, interpreting, analyzing, evaluating and then responding effectually. Hearing is with the ears and senses, but listening needs both the ears and mind in sync. The importance of listening is that it helps to gain a better perspective and reach further in professional life.
It helps to improve the relationship in the workplace so that the productivity and efficiency of the employee, as well as the firm, increases automatically. Listening is an important aspect in a working environment because it aids in improving the knowledge of a person about certain issues as he can easily gather facts just by observing and listening.
This helps in saving time and energy because the listener can stop the problems from escalating. A professional relationship prospers when a person is prepared to listen to others and make adjustments as per the situation. Listening skills encourages innovative work, more creativity, fewer mistakes, increased efficiency, more productivity, better client satisfaction and sharing of important information. Listening attentively, no doubt puts the speaker at ease.
It also avoids any misunderstandings and misinterpretations of words during the conversation. When someone is willing to listen and understand the viewpoint of the speaker, others will also offer a better hand at negotiations and be ready to make compromises. In an organization, the listening skill is considered important because it can calm turbulent waters and encourage better deal at the negotiation table.
The workplace is the place where listening for information, comprehending the message and evaluating the same is essential. It is the listening skills of a person that helps to make the job more exciting and interesting because people trust a person who shows empathy, understanding, and kindness by listening with full concentration to their grievances.
10. Listening puts the speaker at ease
Listening is an important skill where it is imperative that the speaker is not interrupted when he is saying something and the listener can concentrate on the words and underlying message of the speaker. The listener is always on the best possible seat because he can reflect on the hidden feelings and messages of the conversation and contemplate his next move.
The listener continues to make non-verbal communication through his actions and gestures to invite further verbal and non-verbal contributions from the speaker. The importance of listening is that it removes distractions and puts the speaker at ease. When a listener is patient and empathizes with the speaker, it leads to mutual understanding and respect.
Listening is a process where the listener can dig for new information, contemplate the opinions of other people and gain a new outlook on how to view the world and especially his surroundings. It makes a connection between the speaker and the listener that can prove productive in the future.