Developing strong listening skills is a key element in building collaborative, professional and long-lasting personal relationships. Listening is an integral part of the whole communication cycle. As you move through the levels of listening, you’ll generate different responses from the speaker. To get a feel for what this might mean, imagine yourself as the speaker - how do you feel and respond when someone doesn’t pay attention to you as you speak to them? And how is that different when the listener puts their whole attention on what you are saying? We want it so people will listen to us; they will do it if we will listen to them.

There are five common levels of listening:
1. Avoidance, ignorance. No effort to listen at all.
2. Pretend listening. Giving the appearance of listening.
3. Selective listening. Hearing only what interests you.
4. Intensive listening - with projection on themselves. Paying attention, focusing on the speaker’s words to your own needs, arguments, experiences and interests.

5. Empathic listening- through the eyes of the speaker. Listening, responding with both the heart and mind to understand the speaker’s words, intent and feelings. Listen for what is not being said.
And there is the Sixth Level of listening, and it’s to listening to your inner voice. The concept introduces a new and internal speaker. You can listen to your inner voice. To listen actively to your inner voice you should:
• Try to see and understand their point of view.
• Try to understand if there are aspects of culture.
• Listening through your body language to your inner voice.
• Be patient, hear their thoughts, let them think out loud.
• Avoid responding (you are listening to understand).
• Be with an open mind to listen to what the speaker actually says; what the speaker wants to say; what the speaker feels.
• Keep an open mind and suspend your judgments.
Now after you are willing to listen, you can learn such things as:

• Don’t interrupt, stay with an open mind.
• Put your attention on the speaker.
• Make eye contact.
• Ask open questions to encourage to speaker to continue.

Did you know that it takes 5 characters to represent “listen” in Chinese? Eyes, ears, heart, you and focused undivided attention.
When we think about the ways in which cultures differ in listening skills, we usually use the iceberg analogy. The aspects of culture that are immediately apparent, like food, language, customs and manners are above the surface. Those aspects of culture that are more hidden, that we are less consciously aware of, are below the outside. They include:

1. Communication style
2. Interpersonal relations
3. Attitude toward authority
4. Orientation towards time
5. Attitude towards space
6. Thinking style
7. Tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty
8. Orientation to the environment
9. Values, beliefs and basic assumptions

Those aspects of culture that are more hidden, that we are less consciously aware of, is the key to be an effective listener starting in respecting the other side/ it’s not easy not to be in a judgment mode.

Listening through the body language
Did you know that the human body can produce over 700,000 unique movements? These movements have been partitioned into about 60 discrete and symbolic signals and around 60 gestures, postures, and expressions.

More than 90% of the job interview is conveyed by non-verbal means. You did all the homework for your interview. You know everything about the company, their vision, management style, what skills you have that would benefit this company, and where you expect your career to be in 10 years. Briefly you know all the correct answers to 249 interview questions, but at the end of the day what really counts is the main question: did you have good chemistry? Can they trust your message, and what you can do in order to make sure that they will?
We polish our verbal skills for an interview, but few of us give much consideration to their non- verbal communication and body language skills that support the verbal messages and can make the difference.

Up-to-date research has proven that the large majority of messages are received in varying levels of effectiveness. The impact you make on others depends on what you say (7%), how you say it (38%), and by your body language (55%).
We can read other thoughts like open cards. The thoughts in our minds transfer into feeling that get an emotional expression that our body pronounces in thousand of gestures, postures, and expressions.
Listening with your eyes
• "The eyes are often called, 'the windows of the soul' as they can send many different non-verbal signals.
• Eye contact often increases significantly when we are listening, and especially when we are paying close attention to what the other person is saying.
• Less eye contact is used when talking, particularly by people who are visual thinkers as they stare into the distance or upwards as they 'see' what they are talking about.
• Locked ankles
When a person makes very little eye contact, they may be feeling insecure. They may also be lying and not want to be detected; it also could be as a result of coulter behavior.

Why cards?

Mastering the secrets of the body language might be complicated. Body language is a visual mode of communication- you cannot learn it just from reading- you need to see it. Body Language Cards do just that; they flood your consciousness with the visual gestures and connect it to its meaning.
Most important: It works!!!
Body Language Cards are used as an integral part for professional body language courses; they are practiced as an educational devise in corporations; Body Language Cards are even used in psychology courses in colleges all over the world and they were recently translated in 4 additional languages.
You can learn more by going to
The Body Language Cards
Body language cards were developed in 1998 by Dan Rolls and Gill Shermeister as a professional tool for Body Language training.
Our mission statement: For better understanding! For better communication!
It became a leading resource for corporate training for negotiations, interviews and presentations.
The Basic Body Language Cards were translated to 4 additional languages and is often used as a smart corporate gift, with unique added value designated for managers, sale teams and even customers.
The success of the basic Body Language Cards kit, has led us to develop specialized kits for negotiations and interviews and a unique kit for dating and flirting.
Why cards?
The information in this field is organized mostly in books, which is amazing, taking into consideration the fact that it’s a visual mode of communication and the crucial thing is to have the visual memory of the movement in mind when one encounters the relevant gesture.

Cards send a signal to our brain that it’s a game and not another bulk of information that we have to learn. People like to play and thus the information is more effectively consolidated.

By flash cards much of the information is integrated in additional brain areas, those involved in habits acquisition.

It’s also a very easy way to practice and repeat the information- which is more complicated with other means.

It is also an easily accessed; it can be on the desk.

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Author's Bio: 

Trained as a zoologist, Gill became fascinated by the similarities of basic mammalian behaviors to those of humans. He has spent the last 18 years investigating this field and as a lecturer on non-verbal communication, presentation and public speaking.
He is a personal trainer to some leading corporate negotiators and politicians.
Gill shares his professional secrets of his trade in this unique tool to master the secrets of Body Language.