Listen Visually!

“An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words.” – Sanford Meisner

I love a good foreign language film. No other art form has been able to move me so deeply. The reason being, I suppose, is the fact that it requires me to do something I don’t normally do, which is to listen primarily with my eyes. Not understanding the language, the visual content and behavior become paramount. Its as if the language barrier actually becomes a bridge for something far richer.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “don’t you spend most of your time reading the subtitles.” No. I don’t. I can’t. I’m a bit dyslexic. I may look down from time to time, but for the most part I don’t. If the film is good, I’ll watch it again at a later date and read the subtitles the best I can. But for the most part, the visual experience is more than enough to take me places I would never have gone and feel things I never would have felt if I relied on the spoken word.

Now, you don’t have to go to the movies to listen visually. It’s actually something you do every day, i.e., driving or watching a sporting event. But you can learn to develop you ability to listen visually into a powerful tool for communication. The better you are the more meaningful and effective your communications will become with others and yourself.

Here is are a few exercise to increase your ability to listening visually

The Foreign Film Exercise
1. Buy a movie ticket to or rent a good foreign film, here are a few of my favorites.
Amelie by Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeune
Cinema Paradiso by Director Giuseppe Tornatore,
The Lives of Others by Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Director Ang Lee.

2.Listen to the movie with your eyes. Ignore the subtitles. Let the images, sounds and behavior envelope you. Trust that there is enough going on without words to experience something visceral and genuine. This may feel a little “foreign” to you at first but I assure it has the potential to awaken something quite beautiful within you.

The Group Setting
1. Go to a place that has a lot of foot traffic, like a café or a mall and take a moment to gracefully and respectfully observe those passing by. Take in everything you can visually about them. Are they in a hurry, do they appear happy, focused or bored? What does your intuition lovingly tell you about each person?

One on One
1. Have a conversation with anyone and take into consideration that their behavior will reveal to you a great deal about themselves and the communication they are sharing. Are they interested in the topic? Where is their primary focus?

Copyright 2008 Rob Gruber Present Life Mastery Coach

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