Are you a good listener? Or are you sometimes eager to speak and slow to listen?
According to a recent business survey, even though people are frequently texting and checking email when talking with others, a majority feel they are still good listeners.
People say they are good listeners, but don’t feel others listen to them!
Consider these questions about your own listening:
- Do you pretend to listen, waiting for the moment you can jump-in and make a point?
- Do you redirect the conversation back to yourself?
- Do you predict what others will say, justifying your interruptions?
- Do you listen with assessment, deciding whether what is said is right or wrong and whether you agree or disagree?
The above questions are indicators of what we called Level 1 Listening. We refer to Level 1 as “listening to be right” because you are often listening for what is wrong with what is being said, which encourages you to be eager to speak and share your point.
When information sharing is about you and your opinions, the next step is to compare who or what information is right. If the information is not correct in your view, you may feel excited to speak up and correct what is being said. This communication pattern, or lack of authentic communication, keeps the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) going, switching between the roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer.
Relating to others as Creators, and through the TED* roles of Creator, Challenger, and Coach, requires an upgrade to Level 2 and 3 Listening. When you listen in Level 2, your focus shifts away from you and moves toward the other person.
You become genuinely interested in what the other person is saying and sharing. This way of listening naturally nurtures a deeper connection and partnership between people, so that you become eager to listen.
The following is a summary of Level 2 and Level 3 Listening, which are more conscious and deliberate ways of listening.
Level 2—Listening for Possibility
- Attention is on the other person;
- Attachments or judgments are reduced;
- You become curious about the other person and open to new perspectives; and
- The possibility of trust and collaboration takes root.
Level 3—Listening for Innovation and Creativity
- You tune-in to your intuition and sense what is being said or not said;
- You become fully present to body language and the energy in the room;
- You are trusting and honoring of the diversity of styles and cultures; and
- Empowerment and creativity flourish at this level.
When you feel deeply listened to, you don’t worry about being judged or filter your thinking. Instead, when someone is listening to you at Level 2 or 3, you feel free to sort things out for yourself and clarify what is important to you as a Creator. That is why Level 3 is called Listening for Innovation and Creativity.
Listening in this way allows the other person’s thinking to proceed with ease and with less energy from you or from them. It is the natural creative flow—our true essence as human beings. When you give your undivided and authentic attention to another, you become a catalyst for their Creator essence to emerge.
You cannot control how others listen to you. All you can do—and it is a very big thing—is give the gift of listening to others.
People tell us all the time they don’t have time to listen. Ask yourself, can you afford not to listen and deeply connect with others?
We encourage you to become more eager to listen and slow to speak!