Simply Listening

March 3, 2020

A 1984 study says that the average time before a doctor interrupts someone else is 18 seconds. Doctors aren’t the only ones guilty of interrupting others. The Coaching Habit explains the rationale behind interrupting: “Even though we don’t really know what the issue is, or what’s going on for the [other] person, we’re quite sure we’ve got the answer she needs.”

Me thinks this is interesting regarding auditions and callbacks. When given any kind of direction or adjustment in "the room", I often find myself trying to figure it out as the person is saying the words. I’m already formulating opinions on what I think they’re attempting to adjust before they’ve finished telling me what it is that they want me to do. Not by aggressively nodding or smiling or anything that absentminded actors who aren’t really listening do, but more out of a generous posture of “I see where you’re trying to go- let me try to help you get there as quickly as possible”.

This is presumptuous of me for (at least) two reasons:

  1. How dare I think I know what they want before they tell me.

  2. How dare I think that they know what they’re telling me before they’ve finished telling me it.

Maybe they’re figuring it out right now in the moment and what they initially say isn’t exactly what they wanted to say or wanted to convey (…I do that all the time).


...What if they need a little time to figure out what they're trying to say?


...What if they need a little space and time to consider if what they just said was what they actually meant to say?


...What if they need a little space to consider whether or not they’re finished speaking?

Moving forward, I am challenging myself to simply stand and listen in the audition room. I shall simply listen and WAIT until whoever is speaking is done. I shall give it a few seconds of silence in case they want to add anything else in. I shall repeat the directions and ask some form of “And what else?” before taking the adjustment and doing the work again.



Simply listening. 


A beautiful thing that can be more appreciated. 

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