I will admit, my listening style tends to be an interrupter. My natural tendency is to think about what I’m going to say instead of actively listening to the person talking to me. I’m a fixer. I like to think of ideas to help whoever is talking to me. But that’s likely not what they are talking to me for. Most of us just want someone to listen to us, to show empathy and that they care. When I consciously make an effort to listen better with these steps, the conversation goes smoother. I feel the burden of trying to solve their problems lifted, and the person I’m talking to feels cared about.
1. Be a compassionate listener. There’s five levels of listening. What kind of listener are you?
- Level 5 (worst): What you hear doesn’t register. You don’t really hear it.
- Level 4: You ignore what you are hearing. In one ear and out the other.
- Level 3: Casual Listening–you are trying to listen but are busy and distracted doing something else at the same time. This is probably the most common way we listen.
- Level 2: Active Listening–You listen without distraction and give responses and feedback when requested.
- Level 1: Compassionate Listening–This is the hardest level to attain. It takes energy and focus. You start to see things how that person sees it and feel how they feel. You put down your own agenda and get out of “fix-it” mode.