Shhhhhhh. LISTEN!

Nov 26


Gloria Reibin

Gloria Reibin

  • Share this article on Facebook
  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Share this article on Linkedin

This time it was Tom Hanks' ... hosts a show called "Inside the Actor's Studio," ... week features an ... with a well known actor. No,you won't see the latest dirt hovering around t


This time it was Tom Hanks' turn.

Bravo hosts a show called "Inside the Actor's Studio," which
each week features an interview with a well known actor. No,
you won't see the latest dirt hovering around their sexual
life, Shhhhhhh. LISTEN! Articles or hear about their fight with the director. Instead
you'll learn their insights on the craft of acting.

The Audience consists of students -- future writers, actors
and directors -- currently enrolled in the Masters Program
at the New School in New York City.

You can watch the show a hundred times with a hundred
different actors. When asked by the moderator "What is the
one piece of advice you can give to our students here?, they
all say the same thing. "Listen."

Listening is the key to success for the actor, the director,
the writer.

Listening, too, is the key to success for the marketer.

Listening is the key to success for the human being.

"You convert yourself from a person who is pretending,"
Actor Hanks said "to a person who honestly is." Doesn't this
remark apply to all areas of life?

What exactly is listening? Is it a function of the ears? How
many times have you had to ask "What did you say?" to
someone after the sound waves left their mouth, swept across
the room or telephone and pounded on your eardrums? Isn't
listening the function of the mind?

The actors will tell you that when they listen with their
minds, they'll respond in a different and spontaneous way to
the other actors lines even though they already know what
those lines will be! Listening involves taking in the face,
the body, the environment of the other person. Yes, it
includes "listening" to body language.

More than one actor on the program like to tell stories
about Jack Nicholson, a master at inducing spontaneity in
his co-workers. No scene is ever played the same twice --
even though his lines remain word for word.

Shirley MacLaine told about a scene in "Terms of Endearment"
where Jack plays her neighbor. She knocks on his door; he
opens it. Simple enough. But everytime she knocked, Jack
would make sure that something unexpected would happen. One
time he opened the door with a woman hanging onto his

Directors need to listen (and that includes watching) their
actors. They need to be attentive to everything happening on
the set. They need to know when something is right and works
and when something goes wrong. They need to listen to their
photographer, their lighting people, their crew. Good
directors sprouts eyes and ears in every part of their body.

Writers couldn't write without listening -- listening to the
way people talk, the language they use, their gestures,
movement. All that is a part of listening.

What about the marketer? You've already heard, I'm sure,
that you need to fill your customer's needs. How can you do
that unless you listen to them?

"The most important secret of salesmanship is to find out
what the other fellow wants, then help him find the
best way to get it." Frank Bettger said in his classic book,
"How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling."

Listening is the key to being a successful person. People
like to talk about themselves, but they want someone to hear

All creative people, all successful people listen, also, to
their inner voice. It's the inner voice that takes the
cumulative effect of all that outer lifetime of listening,
makes sense of it and tells them how to respond, what action
to take.

Doesn't it seem reasonable that if you put your attention on
others, help them fulfill their needs that your inner voice
will be prepared to fulfill your own?

Here's a few things you can do to improve your listening

1. Close your eyes. Spend a few quiet moments just being
with yourself. It's a good idea to do this before you start
any new task for the day, before you make a phone call,
send an email, or write an ad.

2. Each time you pick up the phone, whether to answer it or
make a call, remind yourself to stop and listen to the other

3. After contact with another person, write down all the
things they said to you. Were you really listening, or were
you waiting for a break in the conversation so that you
could speak? Do you find you weren't sure what they said?
You will probably start writing reams as you practice the
art of listening.

4. After you've met a person face to face, write down what
you remembered about them, their behavior, what they wore,
how their facial expressions changed, their body language.

Before long, you will develop a lifelong habit of listening
that will win you friends, enhance your enjoyment your
enjoyment of life and, need it be mentioned, fatten your

You'll no longer have to remind yourself to:

"Shhhhh. Listen!"