How Does One Lean in to Listen Well?

These posts are adapted from the 20 minute lessons on story telling presented by Dan at the beginning of our Workshop! Workshop! show. All links are affiliate links.

The 5L1K Method starts with listening. You can think of it as a core pillar. And you can read the first of our articles on the subject here. Tell us, how do you listen well? What makes you a good listener?

Here we define listening well as being actively engaged with what is said. If you listen well, you will be able to ask insightful questions. Questions that get to the heart of what the story’s about. Knowing what a story is about reveals it’s purpose; why the person is telling the story and what they want to accomplish. Good questions can reveal this for the teller, even before the teller understands this for themselves. And this is the same for your stories. A lot of times you tell stories, but don’t know what it’s about yet. This goes back to our articles on the developmental stages of storytelling.

This, of course, helps your storytelling because it shows you which questions to ask of your your own stories. Asking good questions is the first step in finding the answers. When you’re listening really closely to a story it becomes an immediate, active process. You’re doing the kind of lean in listening we talked about a few weeks ago with Loco’s story. We talked about how if you are able to get your audience to actively listen, they will be immersed in the moment and the world you have built for them. When you are actively listening, you and the person telling it are creating the story in your imagination together. You can take that experience of imagination and creation and apply it when you are working on your own stories.

There’s a part of you that needs to be able to listen when you are figuring out what story you want to tell. Figure out too, where you want to tell this story. You’re going to get these little heartstring tugs along the way. Oh I want to do this! I want to tell this story! Once you clue into those heartstring moments, it’s your job to figure out the why. Then you have the key to the core of those stories and how to tell them better. It’s hard to tell it better if you don’t know why you’re telling it.

Kamaria and Susan – Lean in Listening

When you listen to other people’s stories it’s practice for when you have to listen to yourself. What you’re listening for is subtle but it helps you when you apply that found knowledge to your own stories. With that in mind, here are some sample questions you can ask yourself and others.


4 Sample Questions for Lean in Listening

  1. How did this telling make you feel?
  2. What’s this story about? (Or what Doug Lipman calls the Most Important thing.)
  3. What are some of the best aspects of the story already?
  4. What parts of the story made me the most engaged as a listener?

Permanent link to this article: https://storyluck.org/how-does-one-listen-well-lean-in/

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