I have a phrase “Listen with your eyes.” It’s basically saying “look” instead of “see.” Like the difference between “Listen” and “Hear.” We’re hearing things constantly. Currently, I can hear my keyboard clicking and the box fan whirring, but I’m not really Listening to them. When doing an improv scene with someone there are times when I’m Hearing them say something but I don’t really know what it is, because I’m not Listening to them. I’m not giving them attention because I’m caught up in my own head thinking about… something else. It takes focus and concentration to Listen to someone on. The benefits are great; new ideas and something solid to react to.
There isn’t a satisfactory word for higher visual attention. There’s See and Look. I guess when you tell someone to “Look” it implies more attention should be paid. We usually add on to it; “Look closely” or “Look here.” We also sometimes say “I See what you mean.” or “Are you Seeing this?” to imply closer attention being paid. So that doesn’t help us.
I say “Listen” and sometimes mean/say “Listen with your eyes and ears.”
When you Listen with your eyes, you can see what emotions your fellow performer is displaying, you can empathize with them. In improv and other performance where mime is used, you can really see what they are miming. The actual object, but also your fellow performer’s relationship to the object.
Listen with your Eyes as well as your Ears.