The 1 secret to be the ultimate listener in life. How shifting the frame will move your game to another level.

Photo by Jarosław Głogowski on Unsplash

The couch, in my living room, last Sunday in Toulouse, France.

Me, chillaxing on my laptop and my wife watching the TV.


Me: yes, of course!

The day after…

Me, shouting with frustration: Why didn’t you tell me?

Her, confused: What, why didn’t I tell you what?

Me, raising my voice a little bit: What didn’t you tell me that I left it open?

Her: I did tell you that the windows were open in your car yesterday.

Me, confused: No, you didn’t, and now the rain has destroyed my car’s interior.

Her: So why did you tell me “yes of course” yesterday when I told you so?

Me: Euh!

Her: yes, wasted again Mad. You were once again pretending to listen to what I was saying.

We all have been there. We interact with a friend, a family member, a loved one, or a colleague.

We nod and pretend that we are listening to them. Yes, our body might be there. Yet our mind is in a galaxy, far, far away.

We are not great natural listeners. We barely scratch the surface when it comes to connecting with other people.

When listening in a discussion, there are 5 levels. The vast majority of us are in the 4 first levels.

Only a handful of us reach the sensei level of listening: the level 5 or the ultimate connection level.

Before we go deep into those different levels, let’s define the main types of listening first.

When listening, it is all about the frame of reference you putting your conversation into. Here are the 2 frames of reference of every conversation:

LISTENING FROM YOUR OWN FRAME OF REFERENCE — 90 % of people are generally in their own frame of reference when listening to others in 99% of their conversation.

In this type of conversation, you can go from level 1 to 4.

LEVEL 1: IGNORING — At this level, we are not listening, and we are not making an effort to pretend otherwise.

This situation is me in a social event where I meet a lot of people. I jump from one conversation to another. I ask people their names. Then the moment I move to the next person, my mind politely forgets the previous interaction.

LEVEL 2: PRETENDING — This is the level where we pretend that we are listening. It is all about trying to fake it until the conversation makes it.

This situation is me with my wife or all men with their loved ones. We say yes, we nod. But ladies, we are just pretending. All we want is to resume what we were doing before you interpreted us with some “important” piece of information.

LEVEL 3: SELECTIVE — This is the level where we are cherry-picking to what information we want to listen to. This level is the supermarket of listening. We just wander in the aisles of the discussion, and we put in our basket what we want.

This situation is me in a meeting. Other people are trying to convince me that they are right. All I want is to respond to them. So I listen selectively to what they say. Then I take some information out of context and shove it to their face.

LEVEL 4: ATTENTIVE — This is the level where we listen with our judgmental googles. No matter what the other person says, we listen carefully to see how that fits our frame of thinking.

This situation is me in an argument with my wife, my manager, or some family members or friends. They can say what they want. I am all ears to show them that they are wrong.

When we listen through our own frame of reference, this one thing always happens. The other has no spot in our frame of reference. That person is excluded from our tiny frame.

When excluding others from the conversation they initiated with us, we are missing that human connection. We always get out of that conversation angry, confused, disappointed.

All of this is why shifting the frame of the conversion from “me” to “we” is paramount.

LISTENING FROM THEIR FRAME OF REFERENCE — In a genuine conversation, we have to give the frame of the conversation to the other person. Giving is the only option for having a conversation that matters to each of the people in the discussion.

LEVEL 5: EMPATHIC — This is the level where we listen with our body, and we put ourselves in their shoes.

As my #GranPa used to say:

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Empathic listening is where the remaining 10% try to drive 90% of their conversation.

This situation is me mentoring other people or giving them constructive feedback.

As I am growing older, I strive to grow wiser. I am shifting the conversation from what I hold as the truth to what alternate realities exist in the rest of the universe’s eyes.

Being able to attain empathic listening is a daily exercise. When done correctly to give, the other person receives our empathic ears as a gift. They come out of the conversation with the sensation that we have listened to them.

Now that they are heard, they can go through their day and change their world.

This, my friends, is the superpower of an authentic and empathic conversation.

The Pyramid of listening.

So, Honey, I am working on being more present next time you want to share that meaningful piece of information with me.

What level of listening do you use more often?

When was the last time you felt you were listened to?

Can you share a story of how empathic listening made you feel better?

Leave a comment below.

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#Dare2Care #Dare2Share

#BIOS #BringInyourOwnSoul #LeadHeartship #Leadership



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Ahmadou Diallo ✪

🤎 Afropean 📖 Griot 🧙🏿‍♂️Mentor 💪🏿 Entrepreneur