One Word Suggestion: Listening

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and you can tell they’re not listening, and just waiting for you to shut up so they can say what they want to say?

Welcome to One Word Suggestion

Hosted by: Eran Thomson
This week's word is: Listening

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Thanks for checking out the show notes.

This podcast is intentionally short and sweet, so don't expect too much from the notes. We will, of course, share links and details of things discussed in individual episodes as appropriate - and that's about it.

The main thing to know is every episode of this show starts with a one word suggestion, and there's no reason it shouldn't come from you.

As long as its not "dildo."

So give us your best, and in the meantime, thanks for listening.

Welcome to the One Word Suggestion podcast.

I’m your host Eran Thomson and this week’s word is… Listening.

Welcome to the podcast, for those of you who don’t already know, every week I take one word, suggested by you, and use it as a leaping off point to explore the benefits of improv as they relate to life on and off the stage.

This week’s word, “Listening” was suggested by Cara.

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and you can tell they’re not listening, and just waiting for you to shut up so they can say what they want to say? It sucks right?

But you can’t blame them because the fact is even though we're all taught how to read, write, and speak, unless you've had some improv training, nobody teaches us how to listen.

Now, if you have had improv training then you already know it can turn you into an active listener and it can change everything. Because when it comes to being a good improviser, or actually just being a good human, being a good listener is invaluable.

In fact, you can always tell when you're talking with an improviser because as soon as you start talking, they stop talking, and start listening.

So how can you become a better listener? Other than obvious things like actually paying attention to the person in front of you and using eye contact, one trick to becoming a good listener is recognizing tone.

Unless you’re working with robots, everything anyone says will have emotion behind it and should be “listened” to with the intent of understanding what that emotion is. If I were to ask you how your day went and you said “fine.” I’d know it wasn’t such a good day.

Some people also talk about listening for the “need” of a situation or scene. This means watching out for beats, rhythm, and movement. And this can be as much about finding out what is needed as what is NOT needed.

And then there's Listening for Intent - sometimes the intention of a performer is often different from the intention of the character.

For example, a character might say, “Whatever you do, don’t go in there.” but the performer is saying, “Go in there!”

Also, remember that listening is not just something you do with your ears. I read somewhere that 93% of communication is nonverbal.

Now that may or may not be true, but the way someone stands, their facial expressions, their mannerisms and the way they move all have meaning and can add context to a conversation. This is why I’m such a terrible poker player.

The main thing if you want to be a better listener is to stop planning the next thing you’re going to say, and focus attentively on the person in front of you and their verbal and nonverbal communication.

This will take you out of your head, and let them know you care about them and their ideas. And it will lead to you being a much more empathetic, approachable, and delightful person to be around.

And I think you’ll be surprised how quickly people notice the change.

So that’s my take on Listening. Thanks for the great suggestion Cara.

If you want to suggest a word for next week, or add your perspective, drop me a note in the comments. I’m making one of these every week, for a year, so definitely subscribe, like, share, and all that jazz.

And in the meantime, if you’re interested in improv for personal growth, professional achievement, or just for fun, my suggestion is to get yourself into an improv class or book a corporate training workshop for your team.

You can learn all about LMA’s programs at

Thanks for listening!

The ideas, observations, and perspectives shared here are mine alone. 
I’d love to hear yours in the comments.

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