Why is appreciative listening important? (7 reasons)

In this article, we introduce the concept of appreciative listening and explain why it is important.

What is appreciative listening?

Appreciative listening is one through which we listen without paying attention, in a relaxed way, seeking pleasure or inspiration.

We hear about entertainment. We don’t actually pay attention. 

Appreciative listening is not necessarily about communicating with others, but rather about the relationship with ourselves and what we need to do to nourish the mind.

Therefore, appreciative listening is practised when listening to our favourite music, a recorded meditation or a recited speech.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable listening to something and have you realized that the focus of attention was not on what you were listening to, but rather on how it made you feel?

It has happened to me on occasions that I have been listening to someone who inspired me or told me about a personal situation.

I was comfortable in one situation or another and suddenly I was transported to what they were talking about and without realizing it I was no longer present in the conversation itself but immersed in what it was described.

I appreciated, in one way or another, what was said but lost connection with who was saying it and, possibly, what they were communicating.

Listening is more than just appreciating a message given. It is to grasp what is meant through it.

I remember the example of someone who wanted to stop at a gas station for coffee, and every time they were about to pass by one, she would say to her husband, who was driving, “Don’t you want to put gas in the car?” 

The husband always answered no. Already in one of them, he needed gasoline and decided to stop. Then the woman said, “I can finally have a coffee!

How many times has it happened to us that we appreciate what they tell us but do not interpret or make sure of the message they want to give us.

It is important to verify what we understand and if what we understand is what we want to communicate. How? 

By asking. A question is asked not necessarily for the answer, but to verify and thus imply that we are listening and we want to understand well what is shared with us.

The importance of knowing how to listen

Knowing how to listen is not only an attitude, it is also an aptitude, a skill. And one of the most necessary in any area of ​​our life.

Recently, together with several former colleagues, we remembered one of whom we all agreed to consider the best bosses we had had in our professional career.

He was a great motivator, we all thought. But it was not of great speeches, nor of grandiloquent words that sought to move the group.

With his way of acting, he taught us that the best way to motivate a person is to listen to them. But, really.

As is well known, hearing and listening are not the same. Hearing is a physiological capacity that, if it does not show defects, allows us to predispose ourselves to listen.

Having an attitude of listening is taking into account the other, paying attention to hear, wanting to understand and focus on the other person.

It is not only heard with the ears, but it is also heard with the gaze, with the body, with the breath.

Different studies carried out on the subject indicate that the information is received in the following way:

1% through the mouth

1.5% through the hands

3.5% through smell

11% through the ear

83% through the eye

As we can see, it is our whole body that is listening and intervenes in communication.

Knowing how to listen helps the person who speaks to us feel respected, welcomed.

As we listen we are creating a space of interrelation, an emotional bridge of connection.

Good listening offers the person who is speaking to us the opportunity to communicate and express their thoughts, emotions and feelings.

To adopt an attitude of listening is to separate our thoughts and focus on each other’s expressions. 

We put all the energy into the other person’s needs, which makes them feel recognized and appreciated. It is what is called an emotional caress.

Obstacles to active listening

There are different factors that can provoke in us the lack of necessary attention:

  • Physical and environmental
  • Noises, temperature, comfort, light, fatigue.
  • Emotional area
  • Feelings of the listener, emotional contagions, active listening
  • Cognitive or mental area
  • Beliefs, omissions, distortions, focus of thought.

In addition, there may be other types of barriers that influence our predisposition to actively listen:

Anxiety: we have the focus on ourselves, on what we have to show, on how we will be received and what will be answered. An internal dialogue begins that is what we pay attention to.

The judgments: we direct our thinking to personal patterns, norms, beliefs, instead of being attentive to what the other tells us.

The rush: we do not allow the other to finish his proposals, we want him to run more or take less time.

Apathy: we agree with gestures and even monosyllables without paying attention to the message.

The advice: it is when we decide to solve the lives of others from our point of view, assuming that our perspective of reality is the only one.

The triviality: we use generalizations, and we tend to escape from the compromised themes by normalizing the message.

Fundamental elements of active listening

Some of the keys that promote the ability to actively listen are:

Take care of the physical environment: an inappropriate environment can interrupt listening.

Free our minds: empty our thoughts of our worries and our judgments. Adopt an attitude of acceptance of the other.

Attention: focus on the person and her words, not on us.

Silence: a powerful resource that offers a space to the person who speaks to reconstruct their history and to the listener to interpret and understand the message.

The gaze: connecting with the gaze of the other. Looking into the eyes will establish an emotional bond with the person, although we must be careful not to invade the space, avoiding that it can be aggressive.

Observe beyond words: gestures, non-verbal language, tone of voice, breathing.

The rapport: a kind of dance occurs with the other person. Subtly adopting her body postures and accompanying her in her gestures helps to understand her state and provides the listener with a comprehensive welcome.

Empathy: allows us to capture the reference world of the other person, participating in their experience as if it were our own and transmitting that it has been understood.

For that, we have to avoid judgments and mental filters.

Effective use of language: use of techniques such as reformulation, normalization, personalization, asking powerful questions that stimulate the person to seek new resources.

Confidence in the person: considering that all people have sufficient resources to face our lives, even if, at times, they seem to hide.

Other types of listening

Besides appreciative, which is our main theme for this article, there are other 13 different types of listening.

Discriminative listening – This is the most rudimentary form of listening that we humans are capable of. Discriminative listening is about the vibrations and sounds of the interlocutor’s voice.

This type of listening is very important because it communicates the message behind the words.

Basically, discriminatory listening helps us to capture emotions from the other person’s voice.

Informational listening – A type of listening to that requires immense concentration. This form of listening is about the ability to receive the information the speaker wants to convey.

Informational listening is about learning what you hear.

Comprehensive Listening – A type of listening that we practice almost daily. For example, when you are attending a lecture or you are having a conversation with your friend, you practice comprehensive listening.

The purpose of this type of listening is to understand best the message of our interlocutor. 

Therapeutic or Empathic Listening – A type of listening to that prioritizes the mental state, emotions and feelings of the speaker.

As an example, you can practice empathic listening when someone gives you advice or asks you for a sensitive issue or topic.

Selective listening – A negative way of listening to someone. This type of listening can often cause conflicts or misunderstandings between people.

Selective listening involves filtering the speaker’s message and selecting from what he or she says, a part that affects you or that interests you most.

Rapport listening  – Oftentimes practised by sellers. Their interest is to make you feel important, understood and valuable.

Therefore, people who practice listening will do everything they can to please the interlocutor.

Evaluative listening – It occurs when the interlocutor tries to convince us by influencing our attitudes, beliefs or ideas.

We listen and evaluate the received message so that we can make the appropriate decisions regarding the received message.

Evaluative listening is also called critical listening.

Pseudo or False listening – We all practised pseudo listening at least once in our lives. We all found ourselves thinking about anything other than what the speaker in front of us was talking about.

Pseudo listening is about pretending to be listening when you actually think of something else.

Deep listening – It means being fully present and ready to listen to the other person. This form of listening involves empathy, understanding, unconditional respect for the other person.

High integrity listening – It implies that you know how to listen with integrity.

Integrity is the kind of virtue that encompasses a series of moral traits of a person, such as honesty, respect for oneself and others. 

Judgmental listening – It is practised by those who, in communicating with others, spend most of their time analyzing and evaluating what the other person is saying.

These people do not shy away from expressing their opinion even if it comes in contention with everything the speaker has said. 

Sympathetic listening – It is somehow resembling empathetic listening.

This type of communication requires special attention to the emotions of the interlocutor. Sympathetic listening allows you to express your emotions about what you hear. 

Relationship listening – It is about the connection that is formed between people when they communicate. The stronger this connection is, the easier the two people can understand each other.


In this article, we introduced the concept of appreciative listening and explained why it is important.

Appreciative listening is one through which we listen without paying

attention, in a relaxed way, seeking pleasure or inspiration. We hear about entertainment. We don’t actually pay attention. 

Knowing how to listen is not only an attitude, it is also an aptitude, a skill. And one of the most necessary in any area of ​​our life.

As is well known, hearing and listening are not the same.

Hearing is a physiological capacity that, if it does not show defects, allows us to predispose ourselves to listen. 

Having an attitude of listening is taking into account the other, paying attention to hear, wanting to understand and focus on the other person.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know!

FAQ about appreciative listening

What is an example of appreciative listening?

An example of appreciative listening could be listening to a good speech, a new song, audiobooks or poetry.

What is empathic active listening?

Empathic active listening is essential in cultivating quality relationships.

It creates human connection, closeness, appreciation and affection.

Is a type of listening that makes the other feel heard, appreciated and valued. 

What makes a good listener?

A good listener is attentive to his caller. Listen with empathy, understanding, and open-minded ears and ask important questions.

A good listener knows that not everything is solved, as if by magic, just by having a conversation. Instead, it takes time and openness.

What is the importance of listening?

Good listening is extremely important in any relationship.

By practising active listening you are showing to the other person that you care, that you value their opinion and time.

Knowing how to practice good listening is a quality that not many people possess.  

What are the 4 types of listening?

The four types of listening are comprehensive, therapeutic/emphatic, appreciative and critical listening.


Active Listening, by Carl R. Rogers

Active Listening: Improve Your Conversation Skills, Learn Effective Communication Techniques: Achieve Successful Relationships: With 6 Essential Guidelines, by Joseph Sorensen 



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