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Why It’s Important to be a Good Listener

Updated on October 24, 2016

People do a lot of talking. They feel the need to share their every thought, especially online when they are not necessarily talking but still communicating. Sometimes people forget that communication goes both ways. Somebody needs to hear what is being said. I’ve come across many talkers in my life but very few listeners. I’m not talking about fake listening, the polite acknowledgement of someone’s thoughts. A true listener not only takes it all in, but they use it to respond either verbally or non-verbally to what the other is saying. There are many benefits to being a good listener:

  • They have a more balanced perspective of the world. They hear two sides of a story and consider them both. The world is not in black and white, and they don’t always have a definitive answer or opinion. Every perspective matters.
  • They are decent gift givers. They know people’s changing interests, and they pick up on ideas about what people need or are looking for. They can come up with ideas for gifts that people may like but not even know they wanted. When people say that it’s the thought that counts,” this is what they mean.
  • They are better able to interpret people. Taking the time to listen to someone gives them an idea of their underlying mindset and external body language. They know what will anger, excite, or sadden a person. They are rarely caught off guard by others’ emotions.
  • It gives artists/writers inspiration. When writers and artists are searching for a new idea, listening to others really helps. To see what people are buying, what problems that they are going through, or what has been on their mind causes inspiration that they may not have picked up by just studying their own life. Asking others what has been weighing on their thoughts can build the foundation for a new piece of art or writing.
  • They are less selfish. People obsessed with their own problems, concerns, and needs throws them into a self-absorbed rut. Listening to others’ problems takes the focus off of their own.
  • They’re better able to keep arguments from getting out of hand. Listeners are better able to read people and can help prevent arguments and misunderstandings. They know what subjects to avoid and what kind of humor can be offensive.
  • They have a better memory, at least to others. People who pay attention to what is going on around them absorbs details which stick in their mind. It gives them a different perspective of a moment because they see a situation from multiple viewpoints through the filter of their own perspective.

Despite these advantages, it is not always easy to be a good listener. The conversation is most interesting whenever it is about yourself, and the talkers seem to have a built-in radar to detect good listeners when they see them, oftentimes keeping the listeners from ever being able to share their viewpoint. They can also be overburdened with people’s problems, which can lead to depression over lives that they cannot control. Balance is important in both being a good listener and a good talker.

Think of the last conversation that you had. What was it about? When was the last time that you were the listener instead of the speaker? How many evened out conversations have you had where you were able to both talk and listen? Leave your comments below!


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    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 22 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Sound advice Laura. Listening's a gift, a skill. Captains of industry practice it to their profit, college dons use it to assess the high-flyers, police use it to sort the nutcases from the hard-cases. We learn more from flapping our ears.

      Shame there aren't enough listeners. Too many talkers.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      I make the effort to be a good listener because I hate it when people do not listen. It upsets me when I hear someone take over the conversation to tell their own unsolicited story. Thanks for emphasizing the importance of listening.