Deep listening is a very critical component of improvisation. Although all understand the concept of listening, here we are discussing deep listening which means listen for the sentiment and innuendo that are deeper than the words expressed.
This is an absolute critical part of improvisation for without deep listening, one would not understand the true sentiment that is being expressed and therefore cannot accurately feel their partner’s true meaning, and therefore cannot respond to their true sentiment. Without deep listening, there is no connection between the partners and no successful improvisational scene. As one practices these skills, they not only practice listening versus speaking, but they learn to listen deeply.
Clearly this skill is critical for any relationship – personal and business. There are professions that have been developed to teach people such skills, as without these skills, the lack of connection cannot result in a productive personal or business relationship. We all know of spouses do not listen to each other nor communicate in any meaningful manner, and we all know of business relationships that are similar, and the negative results from such lack of connection. How many books have been written and how many therapists are there to help the population with this issue?
In business, poor listening skills between manager and employee has been shown in so many cases to be the cause of serious productivity problems. Also in business, a major teaching point for salespeople is to listen to the client. How often do we see a salesperson focus solely on their “pitch” wanting only to give their pitch to convince the client of the benefits of their product or service? However, an integral part of sales training includes deep listening to fully understand what the client is requesting and/or needing. Listening is therefore such a fundamental activity in order for any communication to exist which is necessary for any possible positive outcome, and the deep listening practices acquired during the study of improvisational training becomes a highly important tool for all phases of life.