Knowing how to listen to others is an art: the 3 steps to good listening

Understand how to listen to others, you first need to understand what it means to listen. What does it really mean to know how to listen to others?
Listening means first of all stopping for a moment to want to pass one’s point of view and listen to what the other has to say.

There is talk of the art of listening, because true listening is not easy at all .
It is challenging to voluntarily step aside to make room for the other person. It is almost inevitable, in fact, to continue to think about what matters to us and therefore to listen only with our ears.

Topic index

  • What does it mean to listen
  • The 3 steps for true listening
    • Knowing how to listen to others presupposes silence
    • Knowing how to listen to others also means observing
    • Listen actively
  • The importance of knowing how to listen to others
    • Listening is good for those who are listened to
    • Knowing how to listen to others is good for the listener
  • Knowing how to listen is not knowing how to solve problems
  • Who are the good listeners
  • In conclusion

What does it mean to listen

Listening does not just mean hearing the words of the other and understanding them. It does not come down to the logic that analyzes and understands. Listening implies recognizing and accepting the other as a person. It means giving value and recognizing the dignity of the other. It is the basis of any true interpersonal relationship. Listening also means understanding the other’s emotions and what is not being said. Knowing how to truly listen generates mutual trust and welcome.

Of course, the ability to listen is also used in less deep and demanding relationships such as in business. Knowing how to listen is also useful at company level, for example in the management of collaborators, to understand the needs and desires of one’s customers, or to get to know competitors better. Knowing how to listen is in fact a skill that is increasingly required in the world of work.

“ The human body has two ears and one mouth. To be good at persuasion or selling, you need to learn how to use these natural mechanisms proportionately. On almost every occasion, listen to twice what you speak. ”Tom Hopkins

The 3 steps for true listening

Unlike what one would spontaneously think, listening is not synonymous with passivity. It is not easy to really listen to the other. It is an art that is learned with practice and time.

“ Our first reaction to another’s assertion is an evaluation or judgment, rather than an effort to understand. When someone expresses a feeling or an attitude or an opinion we immediately tend to think ‘it is unfair’, ‘it is stupid’, ‘it is abnormal’, ‘it is unreasonable’, ‘it is incorrect’, ‘it is not kind’. Very rarely do we allow ourselves to ‘understand’ exactly what the meaning of the statement means to him. “Carl Rogers

So how can you proceed to really listen? It is necessary to be silent, carefully observe and adopt active listening .

Knowing how to listen to others presupposes silence

The first thing to do in order to listen is therefore to be silent and not to speak. But this is not enough. In addition to external silence, internal silence is also needed.

The first step is to put peace in your thoughts. You will be able to carry on your speech, your position and your point of view later. Now you have to listen with your whole being: eyes, ears, body posture. With your attitude you must make it clear to the other that you are listening to him.
To listen, you need to take an empathic approach and show sincere interest.

Knowing how to listen to others also means observing

Not all communication takes place verbally. Those who speak to us communicate many things non-verbally.

The non-verbal communication consists of several elements including voice (tone, rhythm, volume, emphasis, …), posture, gestures, kept away from the other person, clothing, objects owned and more.

By observing carefully, you can discover many things about the person that allow you to get to a deeper understanding of what he is telling you. You can understand the underlying emotions, if there are things he hasn’t said yet, or if he’s lying.

What is communicated in a non-verbal way, is what allows you to evaluate and understand the words correctly . So often the most important things are not those spoken.

Listen actively

Listening is not just being silent. It’s not even just being silent showing interest and empathy.

After you have given space to your interlocutor, you have put aside everything you would like to say and you have clearly shown your interest and your empathy, it is necessary to take a further step.

Listening must be active . It means repeating a concept with your words to confirm that you understand correctly. It also means asking questions to better clarify what the other means.
In short, listening is a full-blown activity, which requires competence and commitment.

There is talk of active listening, but you must not turn it into a discussion where in the end you propose your ideas again. It is a question of actively listening to what the other person has to say and his motivations. All without making judgments . A negative judgment can in fact inhibit the interlocutor and prevent him from expressing himself fully.

Only at the end can you have your say on the subject. Even expressing a dissent. But always respecting the position of the other, otherwise the person will no longer trust you.

The importance of knowing how to listen to others

The communication between two people, to be truly effective, it can not be just a collection of monologues in which each tries to dominate the other with his case. Without true listening, there cannot even be true communication. This is true in every area. Even if the importance of true listening stands out more in significant and deep relationships or in the therapeutic field.

Unfortunately, our society is very focused on the importance of asserting its ideas, but the importance of listening is rarely underlined. The first step is to be aware of everything that can be an   obstacle to listening .

Just from the inability to know how to listen to others adequately, many problems arise as a couple or between parents and children. True, spontaneous and daily listening at home helps mutual esteem and knowledge, allowing you to avoid many mistakes in the education of your children.

Knowing how to truly listen benefits everyone, the listener, the interlocutor and all mutual communication .

Listening is good for those who are listened to

Your listening skills can prevent or resolve misunderstandings between you and other people (your loved ones, friends, colleagues, customers). It also allows you to understand and get to know each other. This is useful in various ways, both to you and to your interlocutor.

Those who are listened to can satisfy their need to be listened to . He is faced with a person with an attentive and empathetic ear that allows him to let off steam or at least to express his thoughts. It is at the center of attention, it is accepted and accepted . Sometimes it can also receive concrete help in solving some problems, even if this is not generally the primary objective.

Knowing how to listen to others is good for the listener

If you really know how to listen, you have the opportunity to understand and get to know each other and to get hold of a lot of information that allows you to know better how you carry and interact with your interlocutor.

Listening to another person can also give rise to an enrichment of skills and knowledge that can be put to good use on other occasions. How many things for example does a small child learn from an older brother by simply observing and listening.

Just listening to a person really allows you to make them happy, to help them and to strengthen the relationship.

Finally, if you are serious about listening to a person, it is likely that in his time he will be able to do you the favor. In fact, all of us need to be heard.

Knowing how to listen is not knowing how to solve problems

Attention, listening does not mean finding the solution to the problems of the other. The other person needs to be heard in order to feel recognized and accepted . This even in the absence of particular problems. Being heard by someone also has beneficial effects regardless of whether or not to find the solution to the problem. In fact, often talking to someone allows you to find the solution to the problem yourself .

For example, in a couple’s relationship it typically happens that the woman does not feel listened to because the man thinks that he must find the solution to the problem at all costs. For the woman, on the other hand, it is important to be able to talk about it with someone who really listens.

Who are the good listeners

People who are able to truly listen are a rarity. Most of the time, those who talk a lot, listen little. Furthermore, those who cannot listen are often convinced that they know how to listen very well.

Who are the people who are generally good listeners?

For example, those who are shy are often good listeners . Just his shyness leads him to observe others carefully. The shy person also finds it difficult to support his ideas and opinions in front of others. In this way he has less problems making silence inside himself, because he has always been used to putting his own ideas into the background.

A second category of people who can listen is those who truly love . If you love a person and really want their good, it is generally easier to put your ego aside and listen to them.

Finally, those who understood the strategic importance of knowing how to listen.

“ To listen: this is the first quality of who must speak. “Erri De Luca

However, anyone can become a good listener.

In conclusion

Listening implies momentarily giving up expressing yourself and this is a sacrifice. However, there are also many advantages, as evidenced by the growing importance given to the art of listening also in the workplace.
Without listening, any communication would be just a useless monologue. Without the ability to listen, it is not possible to understand the other and resolve or avoid conflicts. Even truly loving the other presupposes listening.

Knowing how to listen to others is fundamental in any interpersonal or social relationship. Starting from the relationship with the people we care about to the relationship with customers or competitors, the world cannot do without people who know how to listen.


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