how to be a good listener

Do you know how to be a ‘good’ listener?  Do others compliment you on your listening skills?

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of listening skills and how to be a good listener.

Let’s face it, to reach our full potential in our everyday lives, we need to be able to be better at listening to each other and to our environment.

The Zones of Listening

There are 3 zones of listening that we are experiencing at any given point in time:

Zone A: Inward (Listening to Me)

This is a common form of listening where you, as the listener, are distracted and having an internal conversation in your mind.

Perhaps you’re just thinking, or perhaps you’re relating to everything that is said with your own personal experiences, opinions, feelings, judgements etc.

In a conversation, here’s what might be going on in your own mind while the other person is speaking:

“Oh yes, I’ve had that feeling or problem a long time ago”
“I wonder what I’m going to have for lunch tomorrow”
“I’m bored, this person is going on and on”

Most of us spend considerable time in the state of inward listening.

There’s nothing wrong with it.  But when we want to develop our listening awareness, we’ll also want to expand our listening ability and go onto the next zone of listening.

Zone B: Concentrated (Listening to We)

In a conversation between two people, this is when you’re fully concentrating on what the other person is saying. You listen to their every word, and you’re unaware of anything else outside.

Here’s an example:

Imagine two friends enjoying a cup of tea at a cafe. They’re so engrossed in the conversation that they don’t realise it’s raining outside, the cafe is closing for the evening, and all the other customers have left and the chairs have been put away and the staff are waiting to leave.

In order to fully develop truly whole listening skills, we need to practise Zone C – Deep (listening to all).

Zone C: Deep (Listening to All)

Deep listening is expansive, and a much more developed form of listening that we can cultivate in our lives.

Deep listening can be likened to a more flowing state of listening awareness, rather than concentrated on any one thing in specific.

It doesn’t cause the mental strain that concentrated listening might bring.

You’ll not only be aware of the conversation with the person in front of you but also have a sense of their emotional state and with an awareness of the energy in the room that you’re in too.

In a conversation, you’ll have broadened your awareness to sense what the other is feeling, perhaps there are emotions you’ll pick up on, their body language, the environment.

Deep listening is a very natural state of our listening awareness.  It’s a skill that we can develop with conscious practice.

Listening is one of the core skills of a life coach. Are you interested in learning more about life coaching? Enrol in our free life coaching course at the Life Coach Training Professional Institute.