The most comprehensive listening book

Five Levels of Listening

At the core of Deep Listening is the concept of the Five Levels of Listening. These five levels describe the hierarchy of listening. Each level is foundational. You need to be proficient at the previous level to effectively more to the next level.

Read more below and listen about the levels of listening on the podcast


Expand the sections below to read about each level and listen to the corresponding podcast episode

The Five Levels - The Big Picture
Listen to an overview of the Five Levels of Listening on the Deep Listening Podcast

Level 1 - Listening to yourself

A simple but hugely overlooked listening fundamental. Without truly connecting and listening to what’s going on inside our own head, we are unable to be fully present with others.

Level 2 - Listening to the Content
This means noticing the alignment between what someone is saying and how they’re saying it. It is the connection you notice between their head, their heart, and their gut.

Level 3 - Listening to the Context
This brings listeners a depth of understanding about the other person that clarify situational understanding. Exploring the patterns in their words and understanding their backstory as well as the backstory to the conversation.

Level 4 - Listening to the unsaid

A powerful method of understanding others at a deeper level. The simplest way to close the gap between the two during a dialogue is by regularly exploring the gap between what they are thinking and what they said.

Level 5 - Listening for Meaning

The deepest layer of the conversation. Meaning can be created for the person speaking, the person listening and collectively meaning is created by the conversation. Listening at the level of meaning helps make sense of the discussion and it informs a wide range of perspectives and possibilities going forward.

What’s the cost of NOT listening?

When leaders of important teams like Legal, Risk, Human Resources, Finance, Technology and Operations don’t listen to the needs of the business, they run the risk of declining relevance and become candidates for outsourcing.

Impactful communication isn’t just about how eloquently and persuasively you speak, it’s how consciously, deliberately and skilfully you listen to your employees, customers and markets.

Deep listening keynotes, workshops and programs are for organisations who want to improve performance through effective communication that goes beyond words.