By Michael Holland       

Listening is one of those skills we learned early in life.  We’ve “refined” the skill over time, but maybe the refinement has been more of filter management than enhancement of skills. Here are some possible reasons as to why we’re not good listeners.

  • It’s difficult to put aside our own self-interest
  • The speaking/comprehension gap
  • No training or focused practice
  • We just don’t care

Set a goal to build your level of communication and climb the communication stairway.

Level #1: Listener’s response ignores speaker’s message – Not listening

Level #2: Listener’s response reflects his own message – shifts to telling “his story.”

Level #3: Listener’s response indicates surface understanding, but may minimize speaker’s feelings or intended message – judges, agrees or disagrees

Level #4: Listener’s response indicates surface understanding – listening for how message impacts self – “what I need to do with the information”

Level #5: Listener’s response indicates deeper understanding, helping the speaker to further express or clarify himself – hearing beyond the word – listening for understanding.

Depending on the situation, we need to engage in a different level of listening.