Listen to your partner – the third rule of improv (and life!)

3) Listen to your partner. “Listen to what your partner says, doesn’t say and the way he says it. Each word, gesture or pause provides tons of offers and information. Listening takes us outside of our focus on self and the worry about trying to think of something to say,” states the San Francisco Pan Theater website.

I have heard it said that when two people are talking, it is more like they are having two monologues rather than a dialogue, meaning we don’t listen well.

We spend much of our time in conversations excited by our own thoughts and waiting for our chance to speak again. When you are talking to someone you care about, do you give them a chance to respond?

Do you take a beat to see how they have reacted to what you just said? How much more rewarding is it when you feel you’ve been heard?

More of David Alger’s rules for improv can be found on the San Francisco Pan Theater website.

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About genemyers

Gene Myers is a New Jersey poet, music journalist and columnist who learned to walk twice. His weekly column is called The Joy of Life. He was awarded first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing by The New Jersey Press Association.
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