Skill 13. Listening With Your Eyes

  Can you read lips? Hearing impaired people can read a person’s lips from across a room and not miss a word. That’s better listening than most of us do with good ears. Truth is, you can listen with your eyes by observing the nonverbal behavior of others. Like using a good pair of binoculars when you’re on the open range or at sea.

Listening with your eyes means that you observe the nonverbal behavior of the speaker as he or she is talking and listening.

The majority of meaning we derive from any communication encounter is more from the nonverbal communication than verbal communication of the speaker. Actions speak louder than words.

So pay careful attention beyond the words and really observe the speaker’s face, eyes, mouth, tilt and movements of the head, body posture, body shifting, gestures, patterns of repetitive behaviors, sighing, rolling of the eyes, and falling asleep (a very bad sign).

One fun way to practice listening with your eyes is to watch an episode of your favorite television program WITH THE SOUND TURNED OFF.

Without the sound, you’re forced to rely only on your eyes to “hear” what’s happening on the show. Try it once and see how good you are at listening with your eyes. With some practice, you’ll be more aware and sensitive to the nonverbal behavior, not only on the television program, but in all your daily interactions with others as well.

Now return to the world and observe and see what people are saying.


Strength and honor.