Activity 3 – 30 days of better listening

The talks
Julian Treasure has two TED talks about sound that have informed this activity – Julian Treasure’s: 5 ways to listen better and Julian Treasure: Shh! Sound health in 8 steps for two reasons. The talks do complement each other, and they do both contain practical exercises to improve listening. However, the bulk of the activity will be based around the first talk, the 5 ways to listen better.

The concept of improving my quality of hearing intrigues me since hearing is not something that I had really thought all that much about. Yes I have learned active listening techniques, and I do sometimes apply them, but I think that I am like many people and am an “unconscious listener” for the most part. I also think that the  five practical exercises he outlines to improve conscious listening are just a little more practical than the 8 steps in the other talk.

Having said this, some of them are completely aligned, and I may try to undertake the 8 steps at some point in the 30 days, they are just not the focus of the activity.

The challenge
I know that I don’t listen to others as well as I could, let’s just say that Derek has stated that he is looking forward to this activity. I have already said I will try to be more attentive for the mindfulness aspect of Activity 2, which is one of the reasons that I scheduled this activity alongside it.

This is about so much more than “active listening”, it is about improving your quality of hearing and ability to channel and enjoy sound. Even more than that it’s about connecting and understanding your environment and the other people in it.

The challenge for me is to become a conscious listener – to become better connected with my environment and also find appropriate ways to control my soundscape when I need to.

The activity
For this activity I will ensure that I mindfully practice the five exercises:

  1. Silence – 3 minutes a day I will seek complete silence to reset my listening.
  2. The Mixer – at least once a day, when I am in a noisy place, I will listen to how many channels of sound I can hear and identify them.
  3. Savouring – at least once a day I will try to enjoy a mundane sound, like the dryer.
  4. Listening positions – I will play around with listening positions and try to use the most suitable one for each situation (active/passive, reductive/expansive, critical/empathetic). I need to learn more about this one.
  5. RASA (Receive, Appreciate, Summarise and Ask) – much like the standard active listening technique, I will apply this to important conversations, particularly where things are being asked/requested of me.
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