Listening Levels

Listening Level 1

  • What:
    • Focus on self, what is going through my head, how am I thinking whilst communicating… also how do I convey what I’m talking about?
    • How do I observe my own listening experience so that I can be self-aware and manage what I contribute to the conversation?
  • How and why to apply:
    • On regular intervals share with the group what your listening level 1 is. This will help the group understand where you are at and encourage others to share their level one listening. Example: “I am distracted for the moment because …” will help the others understand where you are at.

Listening Level 2

  • What:
    • Focus on the other, what exactly did the other person say,
    • What is the other person really saying? How can I/we use what the other person is saying to figure out things such as: What can we accomplish together? How can I tailor my leadership to what the person indicates in what (s)he says so that the team performs better?
  • How and why to apply:
    • After initial listening and hearing what another person said, you can summarize what they said and only then add your own thoughts. Do not interrupt someone without creating this summary.  Doing so will create a deep sense with the speaker that you really heard them and create trust. You can then immediately continue and add your own thoughts. Adding your own thoughts this way is also called redirecting.

Listening Level 3

  • What:
    • Focus on environment and non-verbals.
    • What is not being said but can be observed from body language, silence, tone of voice, mood in the room.
  • How and Why:
    • Share how you see someone’s body language (in the I form) to expand self-awareness and empathy for others. For instance you can say “I sense a tension in your voice” to give the opportunity to either get confirmation and an explanation or to learn that your observation was not correct.

Listening Level 2 and 3:

  • By combining listening (level 2) and observing (level 3) I can start reflecting, i.e. “Articulate what is going on”, which will lead to people feeling really heard.
See: coaching tools