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The Three Levels Of Listening

Wendy Hanson
The Three Levels of Listening

Welcome to BetterManager. Today we’re going to talk about becoming a better listener. We take listening for granted and we neglect paying attention to what listening really is because we are often more interested in talking. Here’s a great way to think about listening from the Coaches Training Institute.

Level 1: The focus is on me. When you listen at level 1 you are listening with the intent to respond. You’re actually listening to the voices in your head. Have you ever heard those voices? They are thinking about what you should say next. We need Level 1 listening when we’re at a restaurant reviewing the menu or asking for directions. It’s about getting what we need and what we want to say. We’re busy formulating our thoughts and our next question. Level 1 listening doesn’t work when we’re trying to connect with someone and hear what they need.

Level 2 focuses on the other person. Level 2 is when you listen for what someone is saying beneath their words. You are truly listening and your focus is on them. You are listening for what someone is trying to say by being fully present. You listen with curiosity. You reflect. When you listen at Level 2, people will feel heard and that is a wonderful feeling.

Level 3 focus on the energy. When you listen at level 3 you’re getting a feel for what’s happening and using all your senses. Level 3 draws upon the energy of more than just the words. It uses body language, tone of voice, noticing what’s going on and just feeling the room. Listening to the bigger picture in addition to the words. You can feel the energy in a team when you walk in a room. It’s that kind of awareness. In order to become a better listener, you need to be aware when you are listening and when you need these three levels.

Level 1 focuses on you and the voices in your head. Level 2 focuses on the other person and understanding. Level 3 focuses on the energy and using all your senses.

Call to action: when you are doing a one on one or a meeting observe what level of listening you are in at the moment and try to shift to another level. Just notice. Have a great day.

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