The 3 Levels of Listening: Become a Better Listener + Leader
Odds are you think you’re a good listener (both in and out of the workplace). But the truth is, although we often take listening for granted, we’re not necessarily good at it. We’re too caught up in our own stresses, ideas, and thoughts to truly pay attention.
Luckily, there are proven ways to become a better listener. Many of these methods are derived from leadership and executive coaching tactics – which makes sense, since they listen professionally.
In a lot of ways, becoming a better listener involves breaking a bad habit –letting your mind wander, making assumptions, biting your fingernails, so on– and forming a new habit.
First, you need to define what the bad habit and good habit look like. In this case, what does bad listening look like and what does good listening look like? Next is to become aware of when the bad habit creeps into your listening and you need to switch.
The “levels of listening” is one coaching method that could help you break your bad habit and start a good habit. This method categorizes listening into three levels, starting with surface level and distracted to more focused and aware.
If you can tap into these distinctions on your own, your listening and understanding will improve within your community – making your customers feel supported and giving you more insight.
Level One: Internal Listening
Let’s be honest – in our day-to-day lives, we’re often at this level. Internal listening is self-directed. We hear what people say, but their words are often clouded by our own inner monologue, feelings, opinions, and judgments.
Level Two: Focused Listening
If you want to truly hear what your customers or members have to say, this is the level you should be operating at when you communicate. Focused listening draws on intuition and concentrated interpretation to be effective.
Level Three: Global Listening
Global listening means tuning into the body language, mood, and energy of the person speaking. Global listening is the most active level because the listener is not only focused and in tune with what they are hearing, but the impact of the environment around them.