Mastering Effective Communication
Part 2 of 3
How to Take Your Listening Skills to the Next Level
Listening is at the heart of everything that leaders do. Whether giving feedback to employees or holding appraisals, listening is what enables us to better understand our colleagues and employees.
However, effective communication and listening skills rarely come naturally; it takes practise to truly master them.
In today’s article, we delve into the 3 Levels of Listening and how you can take your listening skills to the next level.
The 3 Levels of Listening
Level 1: Listening to Speak
Most people are naturally at level 1; it is the lowest level of listening. At this level, we are only listening to be able to respond. We are focused on formulating our thoughts, questions, and what we want to say next, rather than trying to understand what the other person is saying.
Level 2: Listening to Hear
With some intentional focus on practising effective listening, we can move up to level 2. At this level, we actively listen to, understand, and take on board what is being said. Typically, we use this level of listening when we have an incentive to do so. However, we need to be able to motivate ourselves to listen effectively all of the time, not just in select situations.
Level 3: Listening to Understand
Level 3 is the highest level of listening. At this level, we not only pay attention to the overt information we are given, but we also pick up on contextual clues like body language and tone of voice to understand the true meaning behind what is being said and the speaker’s thoughts and feelings.
What Level Are You At?
To understand what level of listening you are currently at, you need to think about what usually happens when you communicate - what is the output?
- If you often find yourself in misunderstandings, you are likely at level 1.
- If you get the information you need but often miss the underlying meaning, you are likely at level 2.
- And if you understand both what is said and what is meant then congratulations - you are likely at level 3!
Take Your Listening Skills to the Next Level
The most impactful way you can improve your listening skills is by practising active listening.
Active listening is about making a conscious effort to really hear not only the actual words being said, but the overall message that is being communicated.
To help you get started with practising active listening, we have created a fantastic framework that details things you should do when listening and things you shouldn’t do to help you take your skills to the next level. You can download this framework by clicking here or clicking the button at the bottom of this article.
Our next Daily Dot article will be a Friday 13th special, exploring business superstitions around the world!
Until next time...