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News | 09 May 2019

Scouts helps young people develop active listening skills


For anyone looking to improve happiness and productivity at home and in wider society, YouGov research has revealed that better listening could be the answer.

Two cub scouts having a conversation

A poll has found that 86% of adults believe we don’t listen to each other enough in UK society, while nearly 9 out of 10 UK adults* believe better listening would result in more positive family interactions.

The research has also revealed that more than 9 out of 10 UK adults believe Scouts helps young people to develop the active listening skills needed for success.

Active listening involves understanding, responding to and remembering what is being said. You can do this by using techniques such as giving someone your full attention, asking questions, and summarising what is being said. Active listening can be learned at any age, but is especially powerful when learned as a young person. More effective listening results in better understanding and cooperation, which is crucial for both employment and relationships. 

Watch Explorer Scout, Tom, for his lowdown on listening.

Our Chief Scout agrees. Bear Grylls said: ‘The most successful people I know in life are all great listeners.’

We also believe that better listening is a powerful skill to take to work. 94% of people* agree, stating they believe active listening is important in creating a more productive work environment – something to remember whether you’re looking for a new job, or just looking to make positive changes in your current workplace. 


9 in 10 say Scouts develop active listening skills.'
All figures from YouGov Plc and are from those who expressed a view. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27 to 28 November 2018 and 11 to 14 January 2019. Total sample size was 2,112 adults and 2,001 adults respectively.



We spoke to some of our Scout Ambassadors, who say that active listening skills have helped them succeed at work and beyond. 

Tim Peake, Scout Ambassador and European Space Agency astronaut, said: ‘While aboard the International Space Station, attentive listening was critical to our mission success. It’s never too early to start, and as a young person the Scouts was already teaching me this valuable skill for life.’

Warwick Davis, Scout Ambassador and actor, said: ‘In my profession, if actors don’t listen to each other, the scene doesn’t work. The same applies in real life – it’s about putting down your phone when we’re together, taking the time to understand different points of view and showing respect for each other. When Scouts learn listening skills it encourages them to develop empathy and understand more about the needs of different kinds of people. Active listening really is a skill for life.’



87% say active listening leads to a more cohesive society.'

YouGov poll

YouGov polled over 2,000 people for the research, and 91%* think the Scouts help young people to develop the important skill of listening by working together with different kinds of people in small teams. We often work together like this on community action projects. Through our award-wining A Million Hands campaign, young people are spending time with those living with dementia, working for better mental wellbeing, supporting disabled people and ensuring better water and sanitation for remote communities internationally. 

Active listening is just one of the many skills for life we encourage our 640,000 UK members to develop every year. You can find out how Scouts develops listening skills here.

*that stated an opinion

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