The Power of Listening
How well do you listen to the people around you? Listening can be challenging, especially these days, but the power of listening is so important.
When we listen, it allows us to better understand ourselves and other people too.
However, with all of the distractions around us and within our own heads, it’s incredible that we ever hear anything that anyone says at all.
By listening, we can become better leaders and learners.
The Power of Listening and All of its Benefits
Listening is not only the most essential aspect of communication — it can make or break our relationships.
Listening has a significant effect on our ability to appreciate, respond to, and empower others.
Here are some of the benefits of listening:
Listening shows respect
By listening to others, you show them respect. You let them know that you care about what they’re saying and that you value their perspective.
When you show respect to others, they will show it back to you as well.
Listening helps you understand
When you use the power of listening, you can better understand what people are saying, why they are saying it, and where they are coming from.
If listening is a challenge for you, welcome to the club. It can be very difficult to do and to do well, especially in today’s fast-paced, virtual world.
Listening can help prevent misunderstandings, conflict, and confusion.
Listening helps foster relationships
When someone knows that you are truly listening, it can help improve your relationship with them.
Showing that you care by listening can go a long way in helping foster relationships.
People are grateful for others who know how to listen.
The Three Levels of Listening
By understanding these three levels of listening, it can show us what to do to become more effective in our ability to listen to others.
1. Be Present
Give the person your full attention. Stop everything you are doing, whether you are typing on your phone or computer, watching TV, or anything else.
Multi-tasking doesn’t work when you’re listening to others.
By being present, you will hear everything the other person is saying. You will make them feel acknowledged and important.
2. Form an Emotional Connection
When we are present, we can listen between the words. We can hear and feel where someone is coming from.
When we connect with the person emotionally, it’s much easier to resolve a conflict, understand them, or figure out how to support them.
3. Listen in an Empowering Way
How do you feel about the person who is talking?
The “filter” we listen through has everything to do with what we hear and how we relate to the other person. If our filter (i.e. opinion) of the other person or what they are saying is not empowering, see if you can “upgrade” it (i.e., find the good stuff).
When we listen in an empowering way, we take responsibility for our judgments and realize that our opinions color what we hear and how we hear it.
It’s challenging to have an empowering or positive conversation with someone whom we judge in a negative way.
It may not be easy, but being committed to healthy communications and relationships means identifying our judgments and then doing whatever we can to move through them, which will allow us to listen to others in an empowering way.
The Power of Listening Requires Us to do the Internal Work
When we’re able to do the internal work it takes to become better listeners, we can enhance our relationships in a profound way.
Being someone who can listen to others is such a vital skill, especially these days.
It’s not always easy. It takes some practice and humility and is an ongoing, moment-by-moment phenomenon.
However, listening to others can allow for so many positive things:
- Improved communication
- Resolved conflicts
- Deeper connection
- Greater appreciation
- Enhanced understanding
- Increased learning
- Profound awareness
Have fun with it as you practice the power of listening.
See if you can put some attention today and the rest of this week on taking time to put a deeper effort into listening to the people around you.
Share your thoughts, action ideas, insights, and more here on my blog below.
I have written five books about the importance of trust, authenticity, appreciation, and more. In addition, I deliver keynotes and seminars (both in-person and virtually) to empower people, leaders, and teams to grow, connect, and perform their best. Finally, as an expert in teamwork, leadership, and emotional intelligence, I teach techniques that allow people and organizations to be more authentic and effective. Find out more about how I can help you and your team achieve your goals today. You can also listen to my podcast here.
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This article was published on September 30, 2008, and updated for 2021.