Listen…do you want to know a secret?

Did you know there are three levels of listening? I wonder if we listen actively enough to the people we have conversations with? Which of these do you practice most often?

Level 1
It’s like being at a party, where you hear that background noise but don’t really tune in. That is, until you hear one word – your name! Part of our brain kicks in when something is important to us, and our name certainly is. It’s the same thing that happens when we buy a new car, a new jacket and so on. We haven’t seen one of those for ages, and as soon as we’ve bought one, we see them everywhere. So level 1 listening – no thanks.

Level 2
This is the type of listening that goes on most days in the workplace – where we focus on the words someone is speaking – and sometimes (often?) we are even formulating our response while they are still speaking. By focusing on the words, we could be missing a vital message, which brings us to level 3.

Level 3
This is where we focus not only on the words – what is being said – but also on what is not being said, and this means the tone of voice and body language. There’s a great line in the ‘rainbow ‘ song that goes, ‘listen with your eyes..’, and that’s what we need to do. So often we can get the true meaning in communication from everything but the words. You know, when your other half asks what’s wrong and you say ‘nothing’ in a defensive tone of voice and your body language is closed too. They know that it’s certainly not nothing!

So, let’s aim for level 3 – pay close attention not just to the words, but to the tone of voice and all those non-verbal messages contained in the body language.

Want to know more about effective communication skills training for your teams? Contact Liz Kentish, The FM Coach on Tel: 01778 561326 / 07717 870777 or email:

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