One of the best traits any writer can have -- whether it's writing a novel or writing a report for your job -- is being a good listener. And it's up to the writer to take responsibility for doing so.
Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. It's even more acute than listening to them. Think back to your childhood. Your first experience with reading came from someone else doing the reading. As any children's librarian knows, the most "checked out" books are usually the ones that the kids themselves can't read but that they want to have read to them.
Author Eudora Welty noted: "I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.”
And, remember, the word listen contains the same letters as the word silent. You can't fake listening. If you're not; it shows.