The Wooden's Wisdom Logo

Motivate Your Team! Cheer Up A Friend! Inspire Yourself!

Issue 481 - The Five Levels of Listening (Part One)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 10 Issue 481
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Coach Wooden believed one of the most important qualities to gain cooperation, collaboration, friendship or to be a leader is your ability to be a great listener. Your tone of voice in responding to others is always important. In thirty-three years as an active mentee and twenty-six years as a family member, I never once heard John Wooden interrupt anybody or cut them short in a conversation.
At our basketball camps we had to make a rule for the parents and players that when they were getting Coach Wooden’s autograph they could not ask him a question or tell him their favorite John Wooden story because he simply would never interrupt them or cut them short. The first camp we did not do this, and he sat for over three hours signing autographs for the 110 campers and some of their parents as he patiently listened to every story and answered every question thoughtfully.
Most of us listen at different levels, depending on whether we are listening to our boss, a subordinate, a friend, a peer, our significant other, our prospective significant other, a salesperson, a client, a family member, a child or our children. Coach Wooden was a simply a great listener with everybody. He treated everybody great!
The first two levels of listening:
1. Level One: The Impatient Listener: The impatient listener is hearing but thinking about other things they must get done. They often interrupt. They may even use phrases like: "Give me the short version, cut to the chase or give me the reader’s digest version." Depending on who they use these phrases with they may hurt the feelings or alienate that person and render them less productive. The person who has been offended will not tell the offender but rather go home and share the story of being treated rudely with their significant other. If you are pressed for time, consider saying: "I want to hear the whole story, but I am pressed for time right now …. Is there something I can do in the short term to help out?"
2. Level Two: The Over Eager Listener: The over eager listener is engaged and has good intentions. Unfortunately, they are often thinking about where their reply will be while the other person is still talking or what great idea they can add to the conversation. Sometimes the overeager listener runs out of patience and interrupts the other person to interject what they believe is helpful information. Sometimes when they are done, they jump to a whole new topic which connects in their mind and leaves the person who was speaking confused. The person who was interrupted sometimes will not even hear the great idea because he/she is too busy feeling disrespected by being cut short. Many over eager listeners go a lifetime without realizing this and just think they have a great personality and priceless content.
Are you an Impatient or Over Eager Listener with anybody?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




Watch Video

Application Exercise



What We Need

We were settin' there an' smokin' of our pipes, discussin' things,
Like licker, votes for wimmin, an' the totterin'thrones o' kings,
When he ups an' strokes his whiskers with his hand an' says t'me:
'Changin' laws an' legislatures ain't, as fur as I can see,
Goin' to make this world much better, unless somehow we can
Find a way to make a better an' a finer sort o' man.

'The trouble ain't with statutes or with systems—not at all;
It's with humans jest like we air an' their petty ways an' small.
We could stop our writin' law-books an' our regulatin' rules
If a better sort of manhood was the product of our schools.
For the things that we air needin' ain't no writin' from a pen
Or bigger guns to shoot with, but a bigger type of men.

'I reckon all these problems air jest ornery like the weeds.
They grow in soil that oughta nourish only decent deeds,
An' they waste our time an' fret us when, if we were thinkin' straight
An' livin' right, they wouldn't be so terrible an' great.
A good horse needs no snaffle, an' a good man, I opine,
Doesn't need a law to check him or to force him into line.

'If we ever start in teachin' to our children, year by year,
How to live with one another, there'll be less o' trouble here.
If we'd teach 'em how to neighbor an' to walk in honor's ways,
We could settle every problem which the mind o' man can raise.
What we're needin' isn't systems or some regulatin' plan,
But a bigger an' a finer an' a truer type o' man.'

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)






For more information visit

Enter a list of email addresses, separated by spaces, to send this issue to.

Email a Friend

Return to Issue List

Our Services
Why Wooden's Wisdom
Presentation Team
Wooden's Wisdom Leaders
Leadership Resource Center
Member Login

© Copyright 2024 | # of Times Wooden's Wisdom Issues Opened: 6,882,971

Hosting & Design