The Importance of Listening
Humans have evolved as social beings, with an innate instinct to connect and belong with other human beings for survival. (1) 70-80% of our day is spent engaged in some form of communication, and at least 50% is spent listening, however, how often do we actively listen?(2) Most people would argue that they have above-average listening skills, however, research shows that the regular person only listens with approximately 25% efficiency. (3) Many people have the false belief that listening is about being quiet and giving your full attention to someone, however it is much more than that. Listening requires an awareness of body language, facial expressions, and behavioural gestures as well as verbal communication.
Listening is a life skill that we learn from a very young age and forms the building blocks of language and communication. (4) To develop our listening skills we must engage in ‘active listening’ a technique developed
through our self-awareness, mindfulness, attention, and emotional intelligence (the capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions and how to handle interpersonal relationships empathetically and personally.(5)
“To actively listen is not just to hear but to understand, interpret and evaluate what they hear.” – Collins Dictionary
The Positive Effects of Listening
Positive psychology research has found that active listening is a key component of social interaction and communication and has been shown to improve personal wellbeing and life satisfaction. (6) Further research shows that listening helps build strong professional and personal relationships, boosts our emotional intelligence, improves problem-solving, and allows us to understand different perspectives and insights.(7)