Effective communication depends on two critical components: speaking and listening to others. Even though we’re often not shy of expressing ourselves, many people struggle when it comes to listening. Think about it. We engage with our partners, families, and co-workers throughout the day, but as far as listening to their thoughts and feelings—not just hearing the words spoken—is concerned, we might fall short.
You might be asking yourself, what’s all this fuss with effective listening anyway? Is it worth all the extra effort? Lucky for you, we’ll walk you over a couple of reasons why listening is more important than you might think.

1. It Builds Trust

When you put in the effort to listen to somebody else, it shows that you really care about what they have to say and indicates that you’re interested in their input. This feeling of attentiveness makes them more comfortable in your presence and creates an environment of trust and openness. However, if you were busy on your phone or not making eye contact, then the other person won’t necessarily trust you to respect feelings and thoughts.

2. Eliminates Conflict

More often than not, conflicts happen due to miscommunication and poor listening skills. Besides leading to misunderstandings, conflict can also create lifelong resentment, anger, and other negative emotions. Moreover, it can also make the other person think that you’re not respecting their feelings and make them feel unwanted.
Active listening doesn’t mean that you will entirely eliminate conflict from your life neither it indicates that you always have to agree with the other person to maintain peace. Instead, it creates a safe space where everyone involved can openly share their feelings without the fear of being invalidated.

3. Fosters Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. When you talk and listen to people actively, you develop and enhance relationships to understand better what is being conveyed emotionally. On the other hand, if you are only half-listening to what others have to say, the chances are that you might assume a lot to fill in the gaps, thus getting a wrong idea of their perspective.

4. Enhances Your Leadership Skills

Proactive communication is key to becoming an influential leader, and effective communication starts with being a good listener. Active listening helps you understand different perspectives, troubleshoot errors, prevent any misunderstandings, and improve your capacity as a leader. A mark of a successful leader is that they make everybody feel comfortable and a valued member of a team, which directly relates to them feeling heard. So, if you want to create a culture of learning by inspiring others, become more mindful of everyone’s individual needs.

The Bottom Line

Active listening might come naturally to some, but for others, it might require some practice. Don’t worry if you don’t have inherent listening skills; it’s never too late to start practicing. Focus on the tips that we’ve discussed above, and you will see your relationships improve in no time.

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