Listening. Such a forgotten skill in a noise-consumed society. We all want to share. We all want to impress. But have you noticed that few take time to actually listen?

It’s sad really. Because so many people have so many interesting things to say. As famous author Dale Carnegie once said: “If you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener“.

And it’s true! I mean, don’t we all appreciate a person who puts the phone away, looks us into the eyes, and gives us room to speak without being interrupted?

In this article I’ll teach you four eye-opening reasons as to why it’s so important to listen to understand.

1. Learning More About Literally Anything

As a fond learner and active seeker of knowledge, listening has often gifted me with new information to explore (aside from the occasional gossip and rumors of course).

More than once, I have been surprised by the amount of knowledge some individuals have about any given topic.

About countries that have been visited, research that has been committed, or simply hobbies that are executed with an incredible passion.

Often times these topics are discussed for several minutes, answered for several more, and eventually dismissed to never be recalled upon again.

Why? Well, because most people aren’t skilled in listening yet. We’re often too preoccupied with creating an answer in our minds, instead of actually listening and consuming the words being said. I too have been guilty of this many times in the past.

But a wise man once said: “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new“.

And I couldn’t agree more.

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2. Becoming A Better Friend

“To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.” – Dale Carnegie.

In addition to what we previously discussed, here is the second reason why you should always listen to understand:

We listen to understand to become a better friend to those around us.

As I mentioned before, most people do not actively listen, but listen to reply instead. We often – subconsciously – favor our own unfulfillable desire to share and impress.

And, by doing so, we create a battlefield of stories going back and forth without proper discussion, leaving nothing but two unsatisfied individuals at the end of the conversation.

That’s why I highly recommend you to implement the active listening technique in your daily conversing with others.

Be a good listener. Focus your energy on their words. Ask questions, and watch the magic happen.

People will light up! They will become excited, enthusiastic and grateful for you showing a sincere interest in them.

For that reason alone, the effort is more than worth it.

Read also: 3 Ways To Trigger Happiness by Practicing Gratefulness

Two female friends sitting in front of a lake to listen to understand each other.

3. Perceived As More Intelligent And Emphatic

Successful people tend to be good listeners, and maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. When we listen, we learn. And when we learn, we grow. Continuous growth leads us quicker to success.

Fun fact: a recent study conducted at George Washington University showed that listening can influence up to 40% of a leader’s job performance.

40%! That’s an incredibly high percentage for something as basic as listening.

And it all makes sense, doesn’t it? Think of all the people you have high regard for. What kind of characteristics do they possess?

Most people will answer something like empathy, patience, and wisdom. It’s the calm and helpful nature that invites us to open up to those individuals willing to receive it.

Did you know that the word ‘listen‘ contains the same words as ‘silent‘?

Bill Clinton is famously known to be an incredibly charismatic and likable individual, and much of it comes down to his excellent listening skills.

An “ordinary” person having a conversation with Clinton noted that, while conversing with him, Bill Gates came up to stand next to Clinton, and yet Clinton wouldn’t remove his gaze.

Now that’s a good listener.


4. Develop Healthier Relationships

How many times have we seen people arguing endlessly about the same thing over and over again. Where the same sentences are thrown out repeatedly, because they felt unheard the first time.

They refuse to listen because they are convinced of their own right. And what does that leave them with? No reconciliation. No understanding. Simply no end. And the next time they’ll do it all over again.

If you recognize yourself in the description above – please realize that you can easily break this ‘curse’ by truly, sincerely listening to the person(s) you love.

Whether that’s your partner, a family member, an acquaintance. Every time time you dedicate your attention to this person, you will learn new things about him / her.

Try to see things from their point of view. Try to understand their decision making process. Listen to their fears, desires, priorities and objections, and do so without judgement.

As you listen to understand, you will learn the reason(s) behind certain emotional outbreaks and anger, as there’s always a pain hidden underneath it.

I have yet to meet a happy couple who didn’t list ‘effective communication‘ as one of the most important ingredients to a healthy relationship. Perhaps it’s even the key to a healthier society.

So, in short: Listening is the secret to discovering new wisdom and developing healthier relationship. And once that awe-inspiring door opens, everything will change.

Questions About How to Listen to Understand?

Do you have any questions about how you can listen to understand?

I’m here to help. You can send an email to [email protected]

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