Listening is one of those skills that most people take for granted. We think we know how to do it. In fact, we are so sure that we know how to listen that most of us never even consider taking a course or reading a book to learn how to listen.
My experience, however, is that very few people are good listeners… but those that are, they are revolutionizing their relationships, empowering people around them, and leaving a positive footprint in the world.
Here is a simple breakdown of the three types of listening:
Level One: Subjective (All about the listener)
Subjective listening occurs when whatever is said is heard through the experiences of the listener and how they relate to the listener. Listening in this case, is based on the agenda or needs of the listener and rarely satisfies the speaker.
Level one listening:
Level Two: Objective (neutral)
Objective listening occurs when the listener is completely focused on the other person. There is no thought about how any of the information relates personally to the listener. This level is more effective than subjective listening, and is sometimes very effective, but often doesn’t get to the “heart” of the matter.
Here is an example of level two listening:
Level Three: Intuitive or Active (all about the speaker)
Intuitive listening occurs when the listener is using all sensory components and intuitively connecting to the real message of the speaker. The listener has all his or her attention on not only what the speaker says, but also how they say it (the tone of voice, energy level, feelings, etc.), including what ISN'T being said.
This level is the most powerful form of listening, and when mastered, allows the listener the opportunity to deeply connect with the speaker. This level of listening is an act of love. When a person listens at a level three, you are helping the speaker explore what they are sharing and even understand it deeper themselves. This level of listening is the seed for emotional intimacy, understanding, connection, collaboration, and growth.
It’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter if the listener's intuition is right or wrong – simply exploring it will open the conversation and build intimacy with the speaker.
Here is an example of level three listening:
What type of listening do you use most often in your day-to-day life? How would practicing this skill impact your life?
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Mindy Amita Aisling