Active Listening

Carl Rogers and Richard Farson coined the term active listening in 1957, writing that “active listening is an important way to bring about changes in people…[it] brings about changes in peoples’ attitudes toward themselves and others; it also brings about changes in their basic values and personal philosophy.” Hearing someone is easy; active listening is hard work. It requires our full mental capacity, so active listening is as draining as it is rewarding. Yet at a time when companies are confused about how to behave, it is important to remember something so simple, so basic. Active listening means paying deep and close attention to how employees and customers are doing. It means taking the deliberate time to understand how they might be feeling, and why they might be feeling that way. This isn’t about investing shrinking budgets into big research studies. It’s about taking the time required to understand what problem empathy is trying to solve before jumping to a presumed solution. 

The reality is that active listening requires deliberate time and effort. It means having difficult conversations with employees and customers. Intention, discussion, and commitment are all at the heart of what it means to engage in active listening for employees and consumers alike. – Eric Solomon

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4 Responses to Active Listening

  1. jeffw5382 says:

    This is poignant for me. This season I set a goal to focus and aspire to make sure anyone I encounter feels seen and heard. I learned a long time ago that paying attention requires energy and that having an interest in something makes it easier to expend the energy required.

    Liked by 1 person

    • msw blog says:

      That is an amazing goal to set. It is my hopes it becomes a regular part of your authentic self. I have learned active listening is a two-way street, it allows one to be truly heard and seen, but it allows the listener to be still, and to often obtain a wealth of knowledge…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Miriam says:

    So true. There’s a big difference between hearing and active listening. Many people don’t understand how one takes much more effort than the other. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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