Why is listening an important skill

“Z” - listening is a learnable skill

© De Vries

Today “Z” is about listening. Most people probably think of themselves as very good listeners. Ask yourself: am I really a good listener? What exactly does listening mean to me and what do I have to pay attention to?

Tangible quality

If someone listens to us really well, we notice it immediately. It just feels good. We experience a certain appreciation and feel noticed. The opposite is the case in conversations and situations where we are not listened to or where we are only pretended to be listened to. In these conversational situations, we feel that our concerns and sometimes even as a person are not taken seriously. This is often a reason for withdrawal and conflict in relationships. Really good listening is not only very important for interpersonal communication in everyday life. Particularly in coaching discussions with clients or in therapy, good listening is an important basis for success. But what exactly do you have to consider?

Active listening

The American psychotherapist Carl Rogers described the communication tool “active listening” for the first time and developed his client-centered talk therapy from it (you can find more about this here). Active listening is understood to be the emotional reaction to the other person's signals (you can find more on this here). This tool is based on benevolence towards the interlocutor and includes all forms of communicative signals (including non-verbal signals). It is helpful for the active listener that he knows himself well, for example, and has largely clarified his own patterns. In addition, he should be as free of intent as possible and go into communication without setting his own goals. Proponents believe that active listening is a learnable skill. Your own communication habits should therefore be practiced regularly.

Largest contribution to the success of communication

According to some psychologists, a common misconception when it comes to listening is that listening is the passive part of communication and can take place without any effort on the part of the listener. According to the findings of some researchers, however, the greater proportion of the success of a communication (around 51%) lies with the listener. It's not just about the acoustic recording of what has been said, but rather about the content of the message. This in turn requires active listening - similar to the active process of speaking. Try it yourself. Being with others and listening really well can take some effort.

What are your experiences of listening? Do you consider yourself a good listener? Do you know particularly good and less good listeners? How do you react to these different listeners?