Listening can be anything from paying attention to the facts and content of the speaker, to a deep understanding of the “message beyond the words.”

No matter how many listening “techniques” we may have been exposed to, such as making eye contact, re-stating or waiting your turn to speak, others still don’t feel heard. The problem is usually not with applying the techniques but how we listen.

We are familiar with the difference between listening to someone when we are Being Here Now or when we are distracted. In the former, we are fully present with a clear mind and can hear beyond the words of the speaker. We get a sense of how they feel, we are patient with them and don’t let our own thoughts intrude. We are interested in their ideas and what they mean, and assume we may learn from them.

When I am fully present as I listen to another, I demonstrate our core value of Compassion. When I have a clear mind and listen with compassion, I will automatically be open to hearing a deeper message the other person is trying to convey. The deeper my Listening, the faster I get to the heart of the message and the more effective the conversation. 

Listening, which appears to be a passive state, is actually an active catalyst for deeper understanding and communication. It builds relationships, creates an environment for growth and creativity, and contributes to faster more effective results. 

Levels of Listening

  • listening to be influenced
  • listening to understand
    –entire message
    –beyond the words    
  • listening for application
  • listening to agree/disagree
  • listening to tell my story or my point of view
  • not listening