Exercise in Empathy

owpUSw2SnI-3000x3000Anna Deavere Smith is a wonderful actor who “performs” stories by taking on the personality of the original teller. She brings people from Studs Terkel’s collections back to life and takes her audiences on a tour .  Here she is pitching a workshop on Empathy but this little clip reminded me how to really pay attention and I thought it might be a good reminder for you as well.  She points out, “There is someone else going on when you are really paying attention.”

“I listen for every utterance…” Notice the silences, body movements, facial expressions, timing in the clip when she performs Lance Armstrong.  Inspiring!

“I try to occupy their words.  I try to let their words occupy me.”

Have a look at a film Anna did in 2012 titled “Let Me Down Easy.” It is about life and death and healthcare.  It stretches your imagination as to the kind of stories that are relevant to a subject. Many stories that might seem off-topic bring context, depth and humanity. I’m a fan!





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