Can You Hear Me Now?

Whether you’re a bold account director with years of experience, a seasoned graphic designer or an account exec honing new skills – communication is always key. adHOME’s culture is one of collaboration, constructive criticism and effective communication, but everyone can use a brush up from time to time. This week we looked at utilizing good communication in the workplace, and learned that listening actually has many layers and levels to it.

Level 1: Unrelated punishing Response – This type of response happens when the person you’re talking to does not acknowledge or validate what you said.

Level 2: Tangential Punishing Response – This is when the person you’re talking to only grasps one or two words you said and twists it conversationally into a different topic.

Level 3: Furthering Reinforcing Response – Consistent back and forth – there is a constant prompt for more information. The ideal conversation.

Level 4: Feeling Reinforcing Response – More important information comes to light, and you begin to understand the other person’s desires, personality and feelings.

Ideally, you want to be operating at a level 3 or 4 on a regular basis to achieve consistent and quality communication amongst your colleagues. You’ll start to gain personal insights, establish trust and a better understanding of those you work with directly. Although there are many perks to maintaining this listening level, there can be drawbacks depending on whom you’re dealing with. Some people can be clingy or take up a lot of time discussing their lives. They could communicate some personal stuff that you’d rather not be apart of or they could just be generally negative.

Before you slink back to a level 2 listening level – there IS a solution to dealing with the negative Nancy’s and those who divulge an unsettling amount of information about themselves:



Boundaries are a lovely thing, and should be exercised by everyone. Typically interactions with co-workers and clients are more formal than interactions with family or good friends, so it’s important to craft your listening and communication skills around this important factor. Without this differentiator, it’s easy to confuse workplace boundaries with personal boundaries.

By operating at a high listening level and setting appropriate boundaries in the workplace, you’re well on your way to being a top communicator. Remember these two tips to continue to hone your listening and communication skills:

  1. Talk less, listen more. Typically in conversation many listen just so that they can reply. Usually, people are too busy formulating a response than actually listening to what the other person has said. It’s easy to lose the message or miss the point of a conversation if you aren’t fully engaged. Take the time to really listen, and once they are done, it is appropriate to take time to think of a response. This will always heed better results than listening just to reply.
  1. Ask for feedback. Feedback will help you grow and understand areas of improvement, which can only be good for your career growth. Keep an open mind about the feedback you receive. Certain means of communication might work for some people, but that does not mean it works for all people. It’s important to always take any feedback with a grain of salt and not to take it personal. Feedback = growth