How often are you REALLY listening? We engage and communicate with our partners, children, friends, family members and co-workers throughout the day. I don’t know anyone that says communication isn’t important. Yet, many people lack effective communication skills. Especially active listening skills. Here are the Top 5 reasons why listening is important.
Top 5 Reasons Why Listening Is Important For Everyone
As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I am sure it isn’t a surprise how important I find listening. In my practice, I would do it all day long. As a mom, it is never ending! Although, it usually includes 3 boys saying “MOOOOM…MOOOOM!” (you can repeat that by about 100 times a day! haha!)
However, even I have to remind myself the important reasons for listening. We have so many things we are juggling on a daily basis it is easy to be distracted. Why is listening so important? How can effective active listening skills improve all of the relationships in your life?
I have seen when someone learns how to communicate effectively they can save relationships! Not only personal relationships but also professional relationships. I discuss 6 key listening skills in an article, why listening to your children is important. Although, it is about listening to children the 6 key skills apply to anyone.
Top 5 Benefits of Active Listening
- Builds trust and respect. Using active listening skills shows the other person you care and are interested in what they are saying. People are more likely to come to you when they feel trusted. This might be a partner whom you had a conflict with, a child or teen wanting to confide in you or a colleague hoping to solve some issues at work.
- Non verbal communication skills such as eye contact, leaning in or nodding your head, allows the other person to know you are engaged and truly listening. You appear interested. This allows the person to be more honest and forthcoming. People are more likely to talk openly if they are feeling heard.
- When practicing active listening skills you have a better chance of truly understanding the person and their situation or need. You have empathy for the other person. In the simplest terms, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other person. The door is open to solving a problem if needed or talking through the issue more freely. By listening you are allowing yourself to gain insight from what they have to say.
- Using active listening skills reduces the chance of miscommunication (especially if the other person is also using the same type of communication skills). However, even if it is one sided you will notice less conflict.
- Active listening skills can help eliminate conflict, anger and resentment. When we don’t communicate with people, we tend to assume what someone is thinking and feeling. Unfortunately, this can lead to miscommunication and possibly create anger, resentment and other negative emotions. If you choose to use active listening skills you will learn, rather than assume, what others are thinking and feeling.
We All Want To Feel Heard and Understood
Active listening is part of effective communications skills. Some could argue it is the most important based on our basic human need to feel understood. This article, Feeling Understood-Even More Important Than Feeling Loved, by Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D. in Psychology Today explains why feeling understood is critical to our well being.
Active listening is in fact a skill. It comes more natural to some, however it is something that needs to be practiced. Overall, If you apply these skills you will see your relationships improve.