“Good listeners are like trampolines.”

—Harvard Business Review

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When questioned about one’s listening skills, most people describe themselves above or well above average, similar to when queried about their driving ability.

As markers for this self-assessment, they often confirm this bias by the fact that they do not talk while others are speaking. They can often repeat word-for-word what others have said.

In the book Mindful Listening, six levels of listening are described, with each going deeper into greater levels of mastery. Hallmarks of the very best listeners include:

  • The use of powerful questions to clarify assumptions
  • Selectively injecting some thoughts and ideas on the topic at hand that could be useful to the other person
  • Great listeners never highjack the conversation and make it about themselves
  • They act as trampolines instead of sponges. Their efforts amplify, energize, and clarify ones thinking.


Where and with whom in your personal or professional life would being a more masterful listener make the biggest difference? Consider exploring Mindful Listening as a helpful resource in this effort.