Why is listening more important?


Listening is a basic skill, without which we cannot learn any language. Babies listen to human sounds and learn to say their first words. Yet we forget this when we have learnt to talk!

We interrupt, we disparage, we judge, we tune off, we argue, we shout when we don’t want to listen.

We can say a lot without actually uttering a word but listening is only possible if we pay attention.

Do you pay attention when you are listening? Just pause and think.

In today’s world, where multitasking is considered to be a superb skill, listening gets drowned in the maze of messaging, tweeting and checking updates on irresistible digital devices in our hands or the urge to catch up with our favorite shows.

A good communication can resolve all differences but both the sides have to listen. It is very easy to talk, talk and talk but when it comes to listening, often we presume what the other person has to say.

Just see how listening can do wonders:

  1. It facilitates effective communication:

When we are ready to listen we convey a calm message that we respect the other person, we are ready to dispel misunderstandings and arguments. As peter Drucker said, “the most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” When we listen quietly and courteously, we may pick up those unsaid feelers. When we look into the eyes of the communicator, we may catch those vibes, which wont reach us if we are distracted.

  1. It improves relationships:

Listening ushers warmth into our bonds, it fosters care and trust. We know we can talk about any issue and we would be given the required attention. When we don’t listen to other person’s perspective, we tend to create our own images, which could be highly misleading. It is better to discuss your prejudices than harbor them and let them breed misinterpretations.

  1. It helps us understand people:Listening quote

There are many kinds of people and we can’t possibly know them without a bridge of communication between us. Those who pretend to be our friends at our workplace, those who may exploit us for their own professional strength and those who just create rifts by badmouthing. How do we know their true value? Only by listening to their side of the story and keeping our relationship networks open can we truly know their worth.

  1. It can calm emotions:

Good listening gives a natural boost to positive emotions but at the same time it rebuffs negative emotions like angst, anger, fear and stress. All clouds of doubt and discord disintegrate. We feel loved and relieved as our pent up thoughts get an outlet. A lot of burden gets offloaded and we can move ahead with new hopes.

  1. It leads us to profound lessons

Listening can make us better persons as it can motivate, inspire and encourage us to accomplish our goals. We can gather a lot of information, develop working relationships with those we may not like and work on social interactions, which can define our hidden potential. It can drive introverts out of their shell, promote acceptance as a way of life and understand that imperfections are normal.

Please remember! Listening doesn’t mean getting intimidated and bullied into whatever the other person says.

It means a healthy exchange of ideas and thoughts so that we can understand each other better.

It means erecting an edifice of empathetic approach and to be more positive.

It means learning analytical skills, which can foster healthy living.

It means we need to control our outbursts, be more considerate and forthcoming.

If listening has not been taught to you, it is never too late.

“There is as much wisdom in listening as there is in speaking–and that goes for all relationships, not just romantic ones.”- Daniel Dae Kim

Do you value listening? What has it taught you? I would love to hear your views.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.




48 thoughts on “Why is listening more important?

  1. You are so right (as usual). We all “think” we are good listeners, but very few of us actually are. Maybe that’s why therapists get such high fees . . . lol. Your excellent post will serve as a reminder to me (and, hopefully others) to concentrate on being a better listener . . . you hear? LOL. 🙂

  2. Wonderful post, Balroop. Listening is vital to good relationships and you are so right that there are good lessons for us, even when in the end we don’t agree with another’s opinion.

  3. Reminds me about management lesson on Communication during my management classes. listening is more important than speaking. Well explained. 🙂

      1. Yes… I wish you were… You’re real good with it. I’m also sure you wouldn’t be a regular kind of teacher/ speaker. your skills about subject is exceptional in terms of style. 🙂

  4. I, of course, appreciate the value of listening. I counseled people for nearly 30 years, and friends and former clients still seek me out, despite my career change. But here’s the rub – and you bring it to light – it’s the *exchange* that can be so valuable. My husband is a great listener and not much of a talker. I often have to tease conversation out of him. But it’s unfair to expect him to be my sole soundboard. I think many people want and need to talk, and don’t often consider the reciprocal needs of those who listen. So yes, sometimes I’m guilty of presumption, although mostly to move things along when I’m feeling unduly put upon. Perhaps that’s also one reason why others appear to be ‘bad listeners.’ Good thoughts, thank you.

    1. Thank you Bela for sharing your personal story of listening, yes! exchange is the key word, which is often shoved aside.
      Most men I know are not very great talkers except my nephew and it is fun to be in his company! I often wonder if men don’t like to talk, do they like to listen?
      The value of listening can only be appreciated by those who consider relationships precious because listening is the foundation stone of bonding. Unless we listen how do we know the dreams and aspirations of the person dear to our heart.
      I appreciate your perspective, which has added so much value to this post. 🙂 Love and hugs.

      1. Mahalo, Balroop. As for men liking to listen, I’m not sure about that one 😉 In Chris’ case (and I’ve always got his permission to share such things at my discretion), he took it upon himself years ago to join a small RC (Re-evaluation Counseling) group when we lived in a small community in the high desert of New Mexico. This was, I’m sure, due to his wanting to contribute to more harmony in our fledgling relationship. It has served him very well – not everything is for everybody, but RC taught him to listen and attend. Yet if you asked him today if he ‘always’ listens, he’d say No, indeed much of the time – and I’ve learned to recognize the ever-so-subtle glazed eyes – he’s sort of in a zone, picking out the salient points (at least to him) so that he can respond intelligently. When I ask him to focus, that something is important to me, then I have his full attention.

        Is this a ‘man’ thing? I couldn’t say. I think, like any attempts to understand human behavior, it’s a bit more complex. I do know most women process in circular logic, so it often takes some talking to get to the heart of the matter. And most men process in a more linear fashion. Studies affirm this.

        Love to you on this bright week!

      2. New Research conducted at the Indiana University School of Medicine suggests that men really do listen with just half their brains. A study of 20 men and 20 women, brain scans showed that men when listening mostly used the left sides of their brains, the region long associated with understanding language. Women in the study, however, used both sides. Isn’t that an interesting finding?
        Experts also believe that men and women communicate differently. While a woman includes all the details of a problem, men like to sort it out in their own minds and mention only the solutions, eliminating the emotional aspect.
        Thank you Bela for such a meaningful discussion. I like the way you explore every topic so deeply. Stay blessed. 🙂

      3. Yes, I can’t go into anything of interest with toes only. I have to immerse myself. (Otherwise, I don’t bother.) Thanks for the info re: listening m/f. It does make sense. Solution oriented males? Um, yes – haha! It took Chris years to really understand that I didn’t want him to draw any conclusions, just hear me out and then we could decide on something together, if it involved both of us. So interesting these differences, no? 😉 Take care, Balroop!

  5. It is such an interesting question you posed there, Balroop – that when we listen, do we actually pay attention? I hope we do because as you pointed out, there is so much to learn from engaging with the words of another person. I can relate to the point of calming emotions.

    As someone who deals with clients at work, sometimes when they come to me they express angry concerns. In this instances I like to let them talk, let them air their grievances before I say anything. When you listen to someone and genuinely do so, you take an interest in them and they in turn feel valued, or at the very least they are not alone in what they are thinking and saying. And so this in turn can improve relationships. When we listen, we are essentially putting it out there silently that other stories need to be heard too, and everyone can learn from that.

    Thanks for another insightful piece. Always love these topics you come up with about communication and getting along with others and ourselves in this complex world we live in 🙂

    1. Hi Mabel,

      I have come across many people who pretend to listen but nothing sinks in! To me, the greatest disrespect is not paying attention to what a person is saying…such relationships never thrive. Body language and eyes can convey a lot and you can pick up those vibes, if you pay attention.
      Thanks for sharing your personal learning experiences, much appreciated. I can make out that you are an awesome person. Glad that we met. 🙂 Stay blessed and have a wonderful week.

  6. Listening is an important part of communication but, these days, everyone seems to too busy and hardly care for that.As you have rightly said, it helps us to understand people better improving the relationship. Paying attention while listening also helps to avoid misunderstanding.

    1. Somehow I feel busyness is a lame excuse, distractions could be a part of it and many times we are busy with immaterial issues. I am reminded of that old cliche here…’where there is will, there is a way.’ 🙂
      Thanks dear Mani, for sharing your perspective.

  7. A well-written post, Balroop.

    We all listen to a greater and lesser extent however effective listening is hard. Do we need to know everything under the sun when we are in a conversation? At which point do we step in when the conversation is going round in circles or the other party is giving us far too much personal information?

    1. I am glad to hear an honest view…yes, dear friend I have always felt that listening, even to the woes and negative thoughts of the other person help us, not just in understanding our own perceptions but people, emotions and relationships.
      When a person in distress shares his or her personal story, it is the story of humanity, it can happen to any body…besides all people can share a frivolous joke but it takes a lot of effort to come out with personal tragedies and traumas.
      It is a learning experience.

  8. I am not so good in listening, and is something i am working on. It is an absolute must to listen (that too intently)…at least for our benefit, if not for the sake of others, or mutual benefit!

    1. Many thanks Alok, for accepting a common trait of patriarchal society. I would appreciate if you could share the reasons for the same. Also it is a great effort to develop this skill especially when you have not been raised with it. Stay blessed!

  9. The importance of listening and seeing is highlighted in the anatomy itself, in the numerical strength of two ears and eyes as against a unitary tongue and head. Yet there is more talking than listening, more seeing than discerning. Thanks, Balroop, for your thoughts on a subject that holds relevance for all time.

    1. You are absolutely right Raj! Yet we have always challenged natural facts to appease our own selves, choosing to use our tongues the way we want. But the scientific facts, which I have shared above in my answer to Bela seem to answer some of our concerns about hearing and really listening.
      Thank you for sharing your view. Have a wonderful week.

  10. **It means we need to control our outbursts, be more considerate and forthcoming.**

    I agree!

    I find myself interrupting sometimers because I get excited, but I know it’s SO wrong, Balroop!


  11. I know I am beyond a doubt a good listener. I was told so this morning. My boyfriend’s friend is an academic advisor is is teaching her first college class. This past weekend she shared some of what that first class as like (she has a BA, but no teaching experience). Based on what she shared, I knew there were so many resources I could share with her. I really listened to her needs (stated and unstated) and sent a list of books and article links. She was really grateful, so that made my day. How do we learn to listen? Part of it must come from being observant by nature in general. That helps with writing, but it also helps with teaching. People often say one thing, but mean another, etc. There are always lines to read between.

    1. I am so glad to hear that Jeri. When we listen and try to offer help, we are learning to become more considerate and compassionate. At the same time we are passing on positive aspects of meaningful living.
      I agree with you, teachers have to learn the art of listening the moment they come in contact with their students. 🙂

  12. This is a great post Balroop ~ listening was not very easy for me as a young kid, but I can say over the years it seems the vast majority of wisdom and education I’ve used were all derived from listening to advice, thoughts, and ideas. Even when I vehemently disagreed with a view, just listening made me understand the other side of where I was and made evaluation more interesting for me. More fair, in a sense. Great topic and great advice.

    1. Thank you for the visit Randall. Reminders keep us going well and yes, interaction and advice, even when we disagree do leave some shadows to ponder upon. I have learnt a lot from my environment and students who don’t think before speaking. Listening to their views and concerns can open vast vistas before us.

  13. Great post! I think this point is so worth bearing in mind:

    Please remember! Listening doesn’t mean getting intimidated and bullied into whatever the other person says.

    Listening is incredibly important, but occasionally there are people who think you’re only listening to them if you agree with them – and therein lies trouble!

  14. I realized not long ago that I had a hard time listening to others sometime, mostly when it’s about a topic I enjoy talking about Balroop. You’re right, we do anticipate a lot what people think or even think about what people think while they are talking, without hearing a word of what they are saying.
    I am working on this. Cause as you say when we trully listen to others, we open doors and relationships take another turn. We are trully connected to one another.

    Thank your Balroop for outlining all the benefits of listening. I’m learning…

    1. I am glad that my words are inspiring Marie. Hope your love and relationships become sweeter and stronger. Yes, listening calmly does help in better understanding. Stay blessed.

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