Over the years, I’ve penned many blog posts about the importance of effective listening, including the very interesting use of the word “listen” in traditional Mandarin Chinese. Today though, I thought it was worthwhile bringing up how not listening effectively actually causes people to sabotage their credibility and effectiveness. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize the benefits of listening, and thus, the serious consequences of not. Right off the top of my head, here are three specific benefits of listening that I can think of.
- When you listen, and I mean really listen, to another person, what you’re telling them is that they’re important, that what they have to say matters. You affirm them, and when you give people this type of respect, guess what, they respect you back. Your credibility in their eyes goes up, significantly, and so does your effectiveness as a communicator.
- A second benefit of listening is that it gives you more information, more data, that allows you to make better decisions. The truth is, no matter what your area of expertise and how intelligent you are, you don’t know everything, and when you take the time to listen, you get access to different perspectives and additional information, all of which allow you to better achieve your intended outcome.
- The third benefit shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone – listening builds relationships. If your goal in communication is to be more effective in what you say and thus achieve the outcomes you desire, then good working relationships with the people in your organization are essential to your success. When you take the time to and make the effort to listen, you build relationships.
What other benefits of listening do you see? Or alternatively, what negative outcomes have you experienced (or observed) when people don’t listen? Please share.