Introduce students to the idea that there are multiple levels to listening, roughly based on the amount of engagement or effort required. They range from the simple unconscious hearing of sounds, to the conscious decision to listen from another person’s perspective, known as empathetic listening. People can move between these levels, but they probably have listening habits primarily lodged in one of them.
Five Levels of Listening
1. Hearing: the automatic, passive process of registering noises and sounds.
2. Assumed Listening: the common misperception of listening.
3. Listening For: the conscious act of anticipating and focusing on speciﬁc sounds or ideas.
4. Active Listening: the deliberate action of attempting to understand the total message, complete with nuances, nonverbal communication, asking questions, etc.
5. Empathetic Listening: active and open-minded listening from another person’s perspective.
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