Listen, even when you can’t hear

In the summer of 2013 my partner and I drove on the Mont Ventoux in France. At 1800 meters I temporarily lost my speech and hearing ability. Fortunately, everything recovered, but my hearing ability didn’t return completely.  I thought my career as a listener would end.

But once gathered forces to continue I discovered that I could understand a lot with my eyes. Listening with your eyes means that you observe the nonverbal behavior of the speaker as he or she is talking. The majority of meaning we derive from any communication encounter is more from the nonverbal communication than the verbal communication of the speaker. Why? Because actions speak louder than words.

Imagine that tomorrow you listen with your eyes. One  fun way to practice listening with your eyes is to watch  an episode of your favorite television program WITH THE SOUND TURNED OFF. Without the sound, you’re forced to rely only on your eyes to “hear” what’s happening on the program. Try it once and see how good you are at listening with your eyes. With some practice, you’ll be more aware and sensitive to the nonverbal behavior, not only on the television program, but in all your daily interactions with others as well. Give it a try and be surprised. Most often, when engaged in conversation, we just need to be there, in that moment, and listen with our heart, our mind and our eyes.