One of the greatest skills anyone can have is listening. Not hearing - listening. Taking the time to let people speak and processing what they have to say. This skill is particularly important for artsworkers where deep understanding of issues and community need is required.
There are different types of listening for different circumstances. Depending on the project that you are working on, a different set of skills might need to be used to fulfil the aims of that project.
Informational Listening is where you are there to learn. You are listening not to respond, but to gather information. This type of listening might be required when attending a meeting to gather information for a project for instance.
Critical Listening involves evaluating and scrutinising what is being said to gain a deeper understanding of what the speaker is communicating. It is important with this type of listening to not bring preconceived ideas that you may have into the thinking you do in analysing the information.
Empathic Listening is gauging the emotions and feelings of the speaker without judgement.
These are very basic definitions of some of the types of listening, of which there is a lot of literature that you can find online. I encourage anyone playing a role as an artsworker or arts leader to gain a better understanding of ourselves and the way we listen in order to be more authentic in the way we work.