(Unleashing) Listening Art

25 June, 2020

What does deep listening look like? And, can it be Art?

The first one might seem easy to answer – eye contact, physical mirroring, a head nod here or there.

The next one surprises me – for many write of the Art of Listening but I wonder how many consider listening Art itself.

Let me be a bit more specific

My good friend & colleague Stephen Burt has spent the last 2 years examining listening – first in the context of coaching & mentoring and now more deeply in how it connects with improv.

He’s exploring listening now through cameras & microphones – and not just the journalistic head nods and summarising but seeing how we can physically resonate with each other.

I was sceptical – how can I listen with my whole self remotely – all those unconscious & conscious cues we give and feel when we are in the same space together?

Then we played with mirroring in an online Listening Dojo or practice session.

The exercise is simple: one person starts a movement and others do the same so soon you may have 15 people thumbing their noses at each other or giving themselves bunny ears or rolling their eyes. A new person can take the lead at any time and then another …

Suddenly we create art – which Oxford Dictionary defines as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

 All in 30 seconds.

We’ve done this many Dojos now and each time we finish there are responses like ‘wow’ – ‘how calming’.  ‘A great break from a normal meeting’ – a reset.

Want to know more and practice more? Join us in our introductory Dojo and create art which we believe creates deeper attention and impactful meetings.

Sarah Brammeier


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