Tiffany Sly

3 Levels of Listening: Improve Your Conversational Skills


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Marc & Angel Chernoff once said “The single greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. Too often we don’t listen to understand — we listen to reply. Bring awareness to this. And listen for what’s truly behind the words.”

Unfortunately, there is a lack of depth in conversations in today’s world. This is in part due to social media, or media in general, but nonetheless, it’s the truth.

Do you listen enough? Like, really listen …. like, let someone talk, don’t jump in, focus on what they are saying and quiet your thoughts and need to jump in with your own thoughts or responses…?

I admit it – I certainly was and still am horrible at this. I’m a ‘do-er’ – I listen and immediately go to a place where I feel I need to fix or help or provide feedback to come to a resolution. This is what makes me good at my job. But conversations aren’t just about talking; they’re about listening and taking everything in thoughtfully.

I’m realizing that more of life should be about listening to others and we are all too often missing that part of conversations.

I have completed the Real Estate Coaching training with the Nature of Real Estate and am reading the book Co-Active Coaching by Laura Whitworth. Both taught me (and reminded me) about the 3 levels of listening:

  1. Internal Listening – focusing in on yourself and your own thoughts rather than the speaker.
  2. Speaker Focused Listening – focusing totally on the speaker, listening to their words, the tone of voice and body language and are not distracted by your own thoughts and feelings.
  3. Global Listening – focusing on the speaker and picking up more than what is being said.

When you get into level 2 & 3, so you actively & intentionally listen, you experience the conversation in such a different way. You realize the beauty in the conversation. When you stop to pause more and listen, the other person feels free to speak and something amazing happens … the other person feels known and understood making them feel more secure and trusting.

Give it a try. See what happens.

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