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Evelyn Glennie
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Podcast Episode 070: Teaching the world to listen with Evelyn Glennie

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Dame Evelyn Glennie is on a quest to teach the world to listen, to themselves and to each other.

Evelyn is an internationally renowned percussionist, remarkably despite being deaf since age 12. She shares the story of an encouraging music teacher, who suggested she remove her hearing aids to listen better.

Learn about Evelyn’s ability to listen with the whole body, and hear her expert insights on conductors and acoustics.

Oscar and Evelyn speak about listening to silence the unsaid, and even a silent piece of music.

Evelyn advocates that everyone, regardless of background or circumstance, can listen.

 

Watch the podcast episode with subtitles:

Transcript

Podcast Episode 070: Teaching the world to listen with Evelyn Glennie

 

TV Show Host:

Your ambition is to teach people to listen in a way.

Evelyn Glennie:

Well, it’s quite an ambition, actually. But we all have the opportunity to do that every single day of our lives, we really do. We have a tendency to conduct our lives where we’re looking downwards at the moment on our mobile phones or on our computers. There’s someone there. But, yes, this is more important. And we’re missing, not just that oral attention, but listening is about looking at a person. And William mentioned about looking at a hosts eyes. Well, I can sort of understand that because suddenly, if you put sunglasses on, I would not be able to lip read you quite so easily as I do now. So that whole image changes. So, your eyes and every sort of little frown or a change of expression is very important to me.

TV Show Host:

And you mentioned that you lip read because that’s actually what you do. And it’s hard to believe when talking to you, because you do that very well. But the fact is that you started to lose your hearing when you were eight years old?

Evelyn Glennie:

Mm-hmm.

TV Show Host:

And what happened?

Evelyn Glennie:

Well, I had mumps and then the nerves of the ears deteriorated. So, by the time I was 12, I was dependent on hearing aids. And what I found was that the sound was boosted tremendously, but I didn’t have control of the sound. And I didn’t know where the sound was coming from. So, it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t hear sound. I was almost hearing too much of that. And I remember when I went to secondary school, and I was already playing the piano. But I assume that sound had to come through the ears. And when I was introduced to the school orchestra, I saw the percussion section. And I thought, that’s sort of intriguing because some instruments are small, some are large. Some people are standing up to play, some people are crouching down to play things. And I thought I want to be part of that. I’m quite curious towards that. Now, they could have said, I don’t think so. Deaf, music, no, they don’t marry at all. But they did. And the curiosity of my percussion teacher where he believed that curiosity will sort of propel you in a direction. He said, “Evelyn, would you be able, Evelyn, “would you be able to hear more, if you took your hearing aids off?” Now, of course, I thought he landed from Mars, really. I mean, what a question to ask. Of course, I’m not going to hear more. He repeated the question. And I took my time and I thought, give it a go. I took my hearing aids off, he struck a drum. And he said, “Evelyn, where can you feel that sound?” And I thought, where can I feel that sound. Suddenly, my whole body had to stop, and really be patient to listen to that sound. So that the sound really sort of it seeped through the body, and not just be coming through the ears as I thought it would be. So that strike, that initial impact came through the ear. But the resonance then was felt through the body. It was just a huge revelation for me. It completely changed my life.

Oscar Trimboli:

Dame Evelyn Glennie, is an internationally renowned Scottish percussionist, who’s on a quest to get people to listen to themselves first, and then to listen to each other. You can understand why I’d be attracted to a conversation with Evelyn, all about tape listening. What I love about this discussion is, but why Evelyn speaks about listening with such nuance, with such passion, with such colour. This interview is available on audio, and it’s also available in video with captioning to make sure it’s accessible to as many people as possible. Evelyn was one of the really early pioneers around TED Talks. Way back in 2003, she spoke for 32 minutes in her TED Talk. And it’s worth every one of the 32 minutes. She had no rules back then about 80 minute TED talks or shorter. And her talk is about how to truly listen to other people. And as a result, nearly 6 million people have heard her TED talk.

Evelyn Glennie:

But anyway it’s just great to see such a full seater.

Oscar Trimboli:

What an extraordinary legacy and contribution to the future of music to orchestras, and our ability to listen for different perspectives. Our ability to listen with curiosity and with care. I encourage you all to watch the full TED Talk of how to truly listen. And notice how Evelyn listens with her whole body, especially through her feet. For a listening nerd like me, the conversation was transformational. It helped me to rethink, to reimagine what deep listening is. And more importantly, what does impact beyond words mean? I start simply by asking the question, “Who’s the best listener that you know, Evelyn?”

Evelyn Glennie:

I felt a very good listener was my dad. I felt that he was extremely calm. He was a very quiet man. And so therefore, he didn’t speak very much. But he did listen intently. And I think as a farmer, you do listen to people, you do listen to your environment, you do listen to the machinery that you’re negotiating, you do listen to the livestock, you do listen to the weather, and so on and so forth.

Oscar Trimboli:

It’s interesting in one of the tribes of Aborigines in Australia dadirri is the word for listen. And it means listen to yourself, your people, and your land. What do you think we’re not listening to in the future?

Evelyn Glennie:

I think people are slightly losing the fact that we can listen to ourselves. We can feel what we’re feeling. And to feel something takes time. To listen to the sound you can hear or not hear that sound. You can decide to hear it or decide not to hear it. However, to listen to something does require patience. And when we’re listening to our incredible engine, which is our body, our incredible landscape of thoughts, and the decisions that we make from that listening of our thoughts. I find it in my kind of industry whereby we get a lot of new messages from percussion players who are saying, “Evelyn, “how do you set your instruments up “for such and such a piece. Or which mallets do you use to play such and such a piece?” And well, those decisions in my case has all been about listening and experimentation and having that journey with that particular piece of music and then coming to a decision. It hasn’t been emailing someone and saying, how do you do it? And I’m going to do it the same way. So, and I think it’s very important that because we have access to people in this way and quick access as well, we definitely expect a quick response. The speed of everything that is really, I think, altering our listening skills. Because listening takes time, patience, you leave time at the door. And you are with that listening process for however long it takes.

Oscar Trimboli:

My curiosity is piqued by if we think about one generation in the future or two generations in the future. I won’t be around, but I’m just curious what you think they would say we’re not listening to right now?

Evelyn Glennie:

My answer really is ourselves because that has a huge impact on how we relate to other people. And listening isn’t always about sound, it’s often about no sound. And I’ve certainly seen this with the work I’m doing with dementia patients, for example, where often the spoken word is lost. However, it’s the presence. It’s the presence of two people being there together. So, no words are necessarily spoken at all. But it is the presence and the acknowledgement and actually the volume of that person. And we have to hang on and appreciate the value that we have ourselves and the value of other people, and exchanging this feeling and therefore respect.

Oscar Trimboli:

What do you think the cost of not listening is?

Evelyn Glennie:

The cost is massive, it’s massive. It could be the extinction of us. That’s how big and serious it is. Listening costs absolutely nothing. It costs us nothing at all, as regards to being present. Present for and to ourselves. I mean, that’s the greatest gift that we can have and also to other people. It doesn’t cost anything. And listening isn’t a specialised thing. It’s not something we need to study. We don’t need grants for or anything like that. It’s just simply the decision of whether we want to engage. And it’s extraordinary how impactful it really is. I’m kind of lost for words as regards to what it really means, but yet how simple it is. People imagine that to be a musician, you have to be a good listener. To be a breathing human being, you have to be a good listener, you really do. It’s got nothing to do with the type of profession or your background or whether you’re rich or poor, or black or white, or whatever it is. And I think that the word that you have used as regards to explaining what listening is the definition of listening in the Aboriginal language is so poignant. And it’s so, in a way, straightforward, but yet so powerful. And we all have this opportunity to engage in the same way every time we wake up in the morning.

Oscar Trimboli:

I’ve had this belief that the greatest storytelling cultures are the greatest listening cultures. Because stories teach us how to listen and be present for the full extent of the story. And yet, whether it’s in Australian Aborigines or with Maori or with the Inuit or with the jungle tribes of Africa or South America, they have a amazing relationship with silence. And in the West, we have this relationship with silence that’s called the pregnant pause or awkward silence.

Evelyn Glennie:

Silence for me is such a heavy sound in a way. It’s a sound that we can manipulate in so many ways. It’s a bit of party really. And as you say, it can be an awkward sound, it can be a nervous sound, it can be a relief, it can be a scary sound. But for me, I think that it is a sound, it is a feeling. Silence is a presence. And we feel that presence, I think in the sound of silence more than if a car went by or a lorry went by. We wouldn’t really refer to the sound of the lorry. But the sound of silence we feel that and we comment on that so much more than the sound of a lorry, or the sound of a door being shut or something. And I think that to just see silence is something that we have no time for, or we have to set time aside in order to create silence is a kind of strange thing, really.

Oscar Trimboli:

Evelyn is about to explain a piece of music. A piece of music I can honestly say I’m not familiar with. It was composed by John Cage in the late 1940s. And it’s called four minutes and 33 seconds. And ironically, wherever I’ve researched it there isn’t one single performance that was actually four minutes and 33 seconds. They all vary quite a bit. Not one of them was precisely exactly four minutes and 33 seconds. The background to this is John Cage placed himself in a soundproof room at Harvard University. And while he was there, all he discovered was the sound of his own body, the sound of his heartbeat, and the sound of all that noise in his mind as well. Many scholars have mused about the meaning of four minutes and 33 seconds. And the influence that Zen had on John Cage. Or was the music merely a reaction to the noisy music of the time? Or was it a response to suppression of new ideas at the time where in the period immediately after World War II, and around this time that the Cold War starts? I want you to think about this concept. It’s a concept in art and in architecture and many other places. But that’s the place it’s most commonly viewed is called negative space. And negative space is about the importance and focus that creating blank space will create say in a painting. Or in urban design, to highlight something, to draw your attention, to draw your eye to part of a picture, or maybe a panorama in an urban design, or maybe a particular part of your home or a building that might be an office building. Silence is the negative space in listening. It’s the space between the words and the sounds and it helps to draw your attention to listening differently. It creates contrast, it creates colour, it creates space in your mind for the idea to land. So, let’s listen to the way Evelyn interprets John Cage’s four minutes and 33 seconds.

Evelyn Glennie:

I think that we all have the opportunity to play or to perform John Cage’s four minutes 33 seconds. And he believed that there was such a thing as silence, hence, why he composed the piece. And felt that by locking himself up in a soundproof room, he would prove to himself that there was such a thing as silence. But actually, that was the most noisy environment he could find himself in. Because suddenly, he did have the chatter of his own thoughts. And he did feel that the beating of his heart. And that’s really why he composed this piece to show people that actually they have so much sound running through their bodies, and he wanted to express that on the concert platform. But of course, people confuse silence with this kind of embarrassing situation of having a performer on stage doing nothing because it’s all silence is being nothing basically of doing nothing. And I think that that is a misconception that silence is not doing something. It’s very much about doing something and that is simply being present at that moment.

Oscar Trimboli:

I had the opportunity to go to a completely soundproof room myself a year ago. And the overriding sensation for me was the pulsing of blood through my ears, particularly on the outside of my ears. Wanna unify two concepts that you talk about. The first one’s silence, which we have discussed. But the other one is your belief that sound is about what happens below the surface.

Evelyn Glennie:

Absolutely.

Oscar Trimboli:

Join those two concepts together. Firstly, by explaining sound isn’t what you hear, but it’s what’s below the surface.

Evelyn Glennie:

Well, everything has layers to it, everything. Nothing is just one dimensional in a way. And of course, sound is so fluid. It fills out environment. The top of the room, the corner of the room, the floor, it gets into the sitting, it gets through the cabling, it comes through our bodies, so it’s everywhere. And we can’t control that, of course. Very often if I go into a concert hall, that I’ve never been in before. And I may just play a few bars or something. And nine times out of 10 someone from the hall will say how do you like the acoustics? Well heavens above I’ve got no idea. Factors setting acoustics, I have absolutely no idea. And whenever you are in an environment, it’s almost like having a first date. You’re not going to know everything about that person on that first date. It’s going to be many, many years actually, before you truly know that person. And even then there are mysteries. And that’s the same in getting to know the environment that you’re in. And I think what’s very revealing is when you work with sound engineers. And they’re miking things up in so many different ways. And there’s never just a conventional way. They want to experiment. And it’s incredible what the human ear cannot pick up when you’re next to the microphone does, and that is sort of villain. Because there’s a whole world of sound that we’re never going to pick up. Just the human being is not designed to do that. So, for me as a sound creator, I want to be able to try and connect with as many of the sound elements as I can, even if the human ear cannot pick that up. But if it’s something that I feel through the body and imagining my body as a big ear, then I want to connect with that. It allows me a kind of sense of childlike curiosity whenever I do come to my instruments or be with a person or be in an environment. Is to really engage with that situation. So, it’s a very first time, that you’re experiencing something. So, pieces of music for me, even if I played a piece many, many, many times, I always wanted to feel as though it’s a world premiere. It’s the first experience with it. Because that will allow me to grow again with that piece and finding the layers of sound and curiosity that I find keeps me bubbling as a musician. And that’s often where I suppose my inspiration comes from.

Oscar Trimboli:

Here, I get an opportunity to completely geek out on my deep listening. Evelyn will describe different physical listening locations where she’s playing her music cathedrals, concert halls, theatres, and I love the nuance and the range in her language when she explains what wet and dry acoustics are. Right now, I’m conscious that she’s got such a wide range of explaining colours. And the way she explains the attack, for example, when some of the music wasn’t a phrase I was familiar with. But I can imagine her really attacking with these mallets as she creates this amazing music. And it got me thinking how conscious are you about the role that your environment plays when it comes to creating the optimal listening environment for you and for the speaker? I wonder if you consider the consequences of even where you sit. Whether you sit face to face, whether you sit diagonally across from them, whether you sit, maybe, no where. Maybe you’re walking along with them, and you’re facing each other in a completely different way to what you used to. You’re walking together and you’re facing the future together and just walking in that way. And how does that create a completely different listening environment for you and for them? How does that create a deeper impact? If we zoom into that rehearsal, in that auditorium that you’ve been in for the first time, most people won’t be conscious that the acoustics change dramatically when the audience enters the auditorium. And I’m curious about how you go and adjust yourself, knowing that the acoustics has changed by the presence of the audience. And some people say, a Friday night audience sounds completely different or matinee audience.

Evelyn Glennie:

Well, that’s true. And it’s really interesting. And that’s what’s so wonderful about live performances because the audience is so much part of a performance. They engage so much in the decisions we make on stage, they really do. They can decide often when we want to start a piece of music. Because if they have created an atmosphere that perhaps allows me maybe five seconds more of the silence, that presence. Or are they the kind of audience that make me think I’m immediately going to start now. And it’s an incredible thing. So, they really do alter the interpretation of a piece of music. So, the power of an audience, the presence of an audience cannot be underestimated. And I think for me, when I’m in the privacy of my own four walls at home, when I practise something, I’m dealing with the mechanics of what I do as a percussion player. So, I’m kind of really picking those sticks or mallets and I’m feeling what they’re like in my hand. Making sure that everything is as it should be physically, from the percussionist point of view. But then, within those four walls, I spend most of my time rehearsing. And by that I mean, I imagine the type of acoustic I might be in. So, is it a wet acoustic, such as a cathedral or a chart? Or am I in an outdoor venue? So, you’re thinking to yourself. But will my sound is going to be manipulated by the sound engineers. It has to get out there. My whole dynamic range will have to rise incredibly. So, my soft playing will not be intimate anymore. It’s going to be much, much larger. It’s going to reach a larger space. There’s going to be the elements of wind and people moving and people eating. And so, your whole giving of that sound and that piece of music is quite different to if you’re playing the same piece of music in a theatre, which is a dry acoustic. Or a concert hall, which might be wet or dry, or really wet up there, but much drier under the balcony. In that moment when the audience is there. They do something to a performer and it is almost as though you’re walking on a tightrope. And decisions are made in a split second. That doesn’t happen in the privacy of your own four walls. But the audience make that happen. And I think that’s what’s so wonderful about a live performance. Because you never can absolutely dictate which direction is going to go. And also you just this natural kind of element whereby human beings are human beings. Some days you have good days, some days you have bad days. And you simply can’t always analyse why that was the case. It’s just nature. It just happens. So, when you accept all of those things together, that’s why live performances are so incredibly interesting and how we can learn a lot about the sound. So, it is interesting. But it’s the time when you’re listening skills is all about bringing all of your senses and more together to create this mysterious sixth sense. So that’s what live performances does. It just have meant every sense we have.

Oscar Trimboli:

Thinking about great conductors that listen versus those that don’t. What do you think separates the great conductors that listen?

Evelyn Glennie:

Well, I feel that a lot of the work that conductors do happens before they walk onto the platform. And what I find interesting with the emerges of percussion concertos is that long ago, conductors would look at a school, and would look at the solo percussion part. And would only digest the rhythm of the percussion part. They wouldn’t digest the same colours. So, you might have a part that has woodblock symbols, snare drum, a cowbell and they would see the rhythm and digest the rhythm of that part. But not think about the sound of the cowbell, the resonance of the symbol, the attack and the frequency of a woodblock and so on and so forth. And so, it’s almost as though I’m digesting or looking at a Brazilian Samba part on the printed page so I can see the rhythm. However, if you then play that within a samba school or with Samba group, in Brazil, it’s going to not at all be anything like what you see on that printed page. Good conductors are really studying that score by listening to the same word. So, they’re digesting every element and listen to the resonance of every instrument that they see on the page.

Oscar Trimboli:

In one on one listening, even the way you tilt your head forward or back or arc your shoulders or how you sit in the chair, maybe it’s how you tilt your head on your neck from left to right. That will influence how you listen. It will influence not only how you listen, but what you’re listening for as well. How consciously are you of your body position and the listening signal that sends to the speaker. I know when I’m listening for a motion, I’m consistently tilting my head. If I’m listening through my right ear. And I know there’s some science behind that. But I’m just curious, do you notice when you tilt your body, particularly your head. And listen in from slightly on an angle rather than straight on. That plays out for me in a room too, if you really wanna get behind the scenes with me. When I step into the room, here’s a couple of things I’m really conscious of, as I step into the room to make sure it’s optimal. Not just for me, but also for the person I’m meeting. Let’s call them the speaker. So, one of the first things I’m really conscious about is I make sure that where do I sit relative to the door in creating a safe space for listening. So, I wanna make sure that the person who’s visiting me sites one on one as opposed to a group setting. But even in a group setting, I’m conscious of this as well. I’m making sure that they are closer to the door than I am. And I’m particularly conscious of this, when it comes to working with leaders who may have situations in the past where it hasn’t been safe for them to speak up. It means very little to them. They may not even be conscious of it, but subconsciously, they know that they could quickly jump out if they needed to. I’m also conscious of any glass in the meeting rooms and heavy or shear walls, because they bounce the sound around. It’s not an ideal acoustic environment. So wherever possible, I wanna make sure that if there’s some kind of way for the wall to absorb sound, I wanna make sure that it’s facing me and not them. ‘Cause I want them to have the best listening environment I can adjust. But it’s just another thing I do to help the speaker listen to me a little bit simpler, and a little bit easier in a more acoustic environment for listening.

Evelyn Glennie:

That really is the difference. I think a good conductor is very flexible. Well, a flexible conductor will know that he has to move he or she will have moved that platform into different positions. An inflexible conductor will stick to their position because that’s how they’re used to experiencing the sound. And if they have to move maybe five feet one way or another, suddenly they may not be able to hear the violins or the gelos or something like that. And that can really disorient them, sound will. And so, I think that a flexible person will know that sound moves. And sound is going to be heard differently for the audience too. Those in the front row will have a different experience to those in the 20th row or up in the balcony and so on.

Oscar Trimboli:

One of the things we don’t have is a palette or a formula to think about listening. You spoke earlier on about wet and dry. And for most of us we know division, subtraction, multiplication, addition. And I love to play with is listening like drinking wine, is listening like different cheeses, is listening like colours. And people think I’m completely nuts, Everlyn. That I think about listening through this very nuanced palette. I’m curious how you think about listening through language.

Evelyn Glennie:

Absolutely. And I love your descriptions, I really do. And I think they’re all completely valid because, of course, some of us aren’t very visual, some of us are more mathematical. Listening is personal to all of us and it’s accessible to us all and we can all give that gift of listening. And as I see, listening is as varied as the personalities on the planet.

Oscar Trimboli:

The opportunity you enjoy to play internationally, you play on all continents. I’m curious what you think knowing a second language and a second culture adds to your capability to listen.

Evelyn Glennie:

I find that in my case, as a musician and the experience I’ve had in travelling around the world, whereby often the spoken word can be a barrier. I don’t speak their particular language. They may not speak my particular language. And that I find fascinating because often then the listening skills are enhanced aspects of that person that you wouldn’t normally listen to or take note of if the spoken word was there. And of course, being a musician whereby then we have that extra element of bringing the musical ingredient together. And knowing that we had to see mean, musically. And that we’re knitting a piece together. Then that truly builds the bridges. And it breaks down all of those barriers. It certainly, when it comes to the spoken word, I think we can never use that as an excuse as regards to communicating with someone face to face. In old age, there could come a time whereby we’re not able to communicate verbally. But we may still be able and have that need to communicate mentally. And we have to know that we can build those bridges together. And that there is means of communicating. And that again, just comes right back to the core aspect of listening and being present and feeling in a way valued. So, it’s not about how many languages you can speak. It is about that feeling of whether you want to engage with that person. There will always be a way to communicate.

Oscar Trimboli:

I wanna go to 12 year old Evelyn. And what was your music teacher listening to that everybody else wasn’t when it came to your interaction with music at that age?

Evelyn Glennie:

Did see all of his pupils as individuals. So, with Ron Forbes, the peripatetic percussion teacher, I mean, he was so interesting, because he had the discipline of coming from an army background. He had discipline of hard work and focus and so on. But he also had this kind of elastic or flexible mindset, I suppose, in really respecting his pupils as individuals. So, he was able to make his teaching very flexible according to the person who happen to be in the room at that time. So, you realise that in my situation, hearing the sounds was not something that I was going to easily be able to do. And of course, that was going to be different to another pupil. Of course it was. So, therefore, he had to find a way and have to try and understand, what is sound. What is sound. And what are our bodies capable of. He basically, struck a timpani and realised that that vibrated. So, probably for the first time he struck that timpani and really listened to it for himself. And he realised that it vibrated. There was a resonance there. That the sound had a journey after the impact. And so he wondered whether we to resonate. Does the body vibrate in some kind of way. And so, the simple question of can you feel that sound was put to me. And that was then, just the whole opening of a landscape that truly turned my life upside down. Because otherwise I’ll always be fighting of the sound that was coming through the ear. And there’s no way that I could sustain, if I was dealing with sound in that way that completely changed my life and completely changed the relationship I had with sound. The relationship I had with the placement of sound. The relationship I had with the sound within myself as well because of course they were changing because I’ve been in that sort of no man’s land of feeling sound. But also hearing sound through the ear with the hearing aids. So, I started to appreciate that as well. And still slightly believing that sounds could be heard through the ear and made sense of. And a lot of sounds could in fact be done that way and could be negotiated that way. But not with the palette of musical sounds, which were so incredibly great. High sound, low sounds, pat sounds, sting sounds, heart attacks sounds, soft attack sound. And then all of those sounds coming together. It was an enormous palette to have to try to negotiate.

Oscar Trimboli:

Evelyn and her music teacher Ron Forbes, have got me thinking about how do I relate to sound and to listening. And how flexible am I in my mindset when it comes to listening. A sense wall Evelyn was explaining this to me there was a rigidity in the way I’m thinking about it. And she expanded my horizons so that I could think about listening with a lot more freedom than I have in the past. I realised that through this discussion with Evelyn, I’m capable of so much more. I have a wider listening range than I ever gave myself credit for. I realised that I can listen differently. I can listen not just through black and white and through colours, but maybe in a world beyond colours as well. To say, gets me away to think about and play with my mindset, not just my listening. I wonder what it means for you. And it’s an opportunity for you to take the listening quiz, and discover what your listening barriers might be if you visit a listeningquiz.com, that’s listeningquiz.com. You can quickly learn about your listening barriers, and also what to do about them as well. A special shout out and a hat tip to 68 people who prototype the listening quiz. Here’s are some of the feedback they provided. Because I get stuck in historical detail. I don’t help people progress their conversation, and I tend not to get enough detail to be effective. Today, I met with a client who I’ll be working with next week. It was in a noisy cafe and it was hard to focus because I easily get distracted by everyone and everything going on in the room. What I did today was change to make sure that I focused on the customer’s eyes and the mouth, and made sure that my focus was there the whole time. It really helped me to focus on what pain that they were going through on their project. It made me had a little bit more empathy. And I had to stop myself about 10 times in the conversation with responding with something about me and myself. I was constantly saying this internally. Instead I just use the phrase, tell me more. It was fantastic because the customer kept telling me more and more and more about the project. And what I wouldn’t have heard as a result, if I didn’t stay away from my old habits. It wasn’t easy and I received nearly doubled the information that I normally do. They also went on to say they could feel that the customer felt listened to as well. They said it was their first meeting. It was kind of a getting to know you meeting. And I only talked about five minutes in a whole hour about myself. They are in a really stressful project and I felt the meeting was more for them to have somebody to listen to them, rather than just to meet me. Some other feedback, one of my daughter’s reactions last night when I asked her to tell me more was that she talked non-stop for 15 minutes about all the detail, which I rarely would have heard before. I feel like it’s gonna make me a better parent. Another call man he I didn’t realise that I was the dramatic listening villain. I’m more aware of not talking about my own story now. I always used to do this as a way to let the person know I understand what they’re going through. But now, I realised that this can take away from their time, their story. Now, I’m actively stopping myself talking about my examples all the time and allowing them the space to talk. I’m also realising that maybe I wanna not offer a solution, but in fact, just listen, and it’s less tiring. Another person has said their ability to fully express themselves. And as a result, they’ve been able to walk away feeling much better, they’ve discussed the problem or the issue with me without a solution. Another person said, I can appreciate that my listening is about allowing space to share, to debrief. I never thought to check myself in the mirror first. How confronting is that? Now, I just take a few deep breaths, especially when I wanna interrupt someone. I find this works really well. I’m trying to be much more mindful about how I listen to people. The biggest challenge I face is I struggle to pay attention. And now, I think about not how I’m going to be responding, but just noticing that I want to. I think all this has come through in our research before we did the listening villains work. The final kind of feedback we’ve got is I feel that the more I listen to people, the more they wanna open up, and the more they wanna solve their own problem. And they’re feeling valued because they’re feeling heard. In creating this space, is much easier for me as a manager. And I can see how easy it is to get four to six hours back in a day, Oscar. Which is a cool promise from anything that we do around the deep listening community. It’s how do we create a space and place for you to get four to six hours back in your schedule every week. If you wanna learn more from others who are on this journey to become deep listeners rather than distracted listeners, visit oscartrimboli.com/community. Connect with others, learn from others, and teach others too. And a quick reminder, if you want to discover your listening villain, visit listeningquiz.com. That’s listeningquiz.com to learn more. Let’s come back to the end of this interview with Evelyn. Really is a joy for me to spend time with her and explore the full range of what listening is all about. So, at the end of this interview, I’ve asked Evelyn for feedback about how she noticed the way I was listening to her. So, please stay with this interview all the way to the end, where Evelyn does a brilliant job of noticing all the nuance, as she explained it, in how I was listening to her. So, finally, let’s listen to Evelyn’s final piece from her 2013 TED Talk. And although it’s amazing music, I think it’s an even more extraordinary performance. Thanks for listening. So, most people will hear this on a podcast and won’t be able to see it. And I’m curious what you’ve noticed in the way I listen that you think might be useful to those listening right now?

Evelyn Glennie:

For the listeners out there, whenever you ask a question you’re smiling. And at the end of the question, you smile even more . That really helps me bring a kind of joy, I suppose, to how I want to answer a question. That all sorts of thoughtfulness. I think that it’s the pace of how you express a question. It’s not a hurried way. It’s a very calm way. I think that it’s something where by I have no option but to want to answer your questions. And I think that that’s all about engagement. So, you have a way about you. But you also have a way whereby you really want to reach out to people.

Oscar Trimboli:

Honestly, is there anything I could have done to make this interview more productive for the audience?

Evelyn Glennie:

You’ve just constructed a wonderful interview. And so many of the questions, have been so well thought about. And so far from often the usual questions I’m presented with. And so that I find really, really engaging and really interesting. And I think that you just have a way about you that I think the audience will absolutely engage with. And it’s quite interesting because in a way, as a musician, people expect me to play all the time. And in order to demonstrate something or to put a point across. And certainly I do that a lot, of course I do. But it’s rather nice to be able to have the opportunity to talk about something that is not reliant on getting an instrument out or doing something. And I think that that’s the important thing with listening is that you don’t need fancy tools to engage with and in order for people to think about this particular subject. And just before I forget, the other element is with the podcast. When I say subtitles, I mean, would it be possible for hearing impaired people to engage with.

Oscar Trimboli:

So, James is always good for me. And he was the person who’s said, it’s probably gonna be helpful for Evelyn if you’ve got a black background. So, I hope that helped because I was very deliberate in creating some contrast in my face apparently. It’s not something I’ve done before. So hopefully…

Evelyn Glennie:

It’s been amazing because a lot of times that we’re doing Skype or interviews rather over the internet, we’ve had to ask people to move from the window or from a light or whatever, because it is hard work actually. But you’ve just really thought about that brilliantly. And I very much appreciate that. So, and a lot of our work obviously is about thinking about inclusiveness. And the way that you’ve engaged in that it’s been amazing.

Oscar Trimboli:

Well, even wearing the black.

Evelyn Glennie:

I know .

Oscar Trimboli:

And it took all day today I’ve had this off. And I’ve kind of had to zip it up. I’ve got a little checklist on the side here that I’ve rehearsed. And my wife is sick of me telling her how long the countdown to Evelyn’s interview is. So, I’m gonna pop downstairs now and skip across the room and enjoy dinner with her and my granddaughter, Ruby. And she she’ll hear all about it.

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