I’m sure you listen when people talk. At least most of the time, right?

Did you know there are different listening skills? You aren’t born with these skills but you can build them up.

Here are 4 ways of listening and what they mean:

Focused listening is when you listen to someone with the intent to logically understand the words they are saying. You pay attention to their tone of voice and the body language they use. At the end of your conversation the person feels understood by you.

Global listening is when you listen not only to what is being said, but for what is not being said also. You pay attention to the energy the other person is giving off and listen using your senses and intuition. This is how you know what to say or ask next in the conversation.

Active listening is when you closely listen to what the person is saying and are aware of how they are feeling internally. You listen carefully so you can discover deeper aspects of their thoughts. You can see the truth the person can’t see for themself.

Deep listening takes active listening up a level. You put yourself in the other persons shoes. You are aware of subtleties as well as your own internal feelings and intuitive impressions.

Listening is an important skill to have and knowing the various ways to listen will help you in conversations to know if you need to really pay attention closely to the other person in a different way.

For instance, if you are having a quick conversation with someone you just met, you are likely focused and understanding them but there usually won’t be some deep underlying meaning in this type of conversation.

If you are having an intimate conversation with a family member or close friend, this is where you want to be more active listening so that you can understand them, feel how they are feeling and help them see things in a different way if they need to. It is these times that you want to hear not only what they are saying but also what they are not saying so you can help in the best way possible.

I invite you to practice one of these more enhanced listening skills in your next meaningful conversation. It could mean a big difference in how the conversation turns out for both you and the other person.