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You enter a new world when you listen

Last week I was interviewed by two amazing people, Lucas Pralle and Carolyn Decker who introduced me to their creative world. They have a podcast in Rhode Island, United States and teach creative writing.

For each podcast they interview a guest, and then have a 15 minute exercise where they invited me – and of course the listeners, to listen to a series of sounds in a sound track. From that we were encouraged to write a piece of writing – not music (!) And then share it. Both Lucas and Carolyn came up with the most amazing pieces of writing; inspired by a series of sounds. Interestingly, I approached the sounds as a ‘soundtrack’ or narrative of an experience. I don’t know if this is because I am very audio sensitive and could visualise what was happening!

Listen to the podcast, including the listening exercise: it is incredible.

I thought it was very interesting that although we listened to the same track, we all had different thoughts and created different pieces of writing from it. But the experience made me reflect on how our lives are filled with sound tracks, and I don’t mean our own curated soundtracks when we listen to music on our phones, but around us.

I find it strange when I go for a walk in the local woods, that there are other people walking who have their headphones on! I love to be able to hear the birds singing; the wind blowing the branches and leaves and even the crunch of the leaves on the woodland floor. It is part of the whole experience. Likewise, walking in London, I hear the sound of the traffic and people talking; it is all great and makes me in touch with the world. And I’m not even “actively” listening.

How often do we fail to take in what is going on around us – whether it is as we are walking around, or when we are in a conversation. Are we locked in our world of our own ‘sound track’ whether it is via our phone or cutting out other noises. How often are we distracted by our phones or computer instead of listening properly to a conversation? Being a great communicator is JUST as much about listening as speaking.

If you would like to receive my “5 Tips to being a great communicator” grab it here.