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The Art of Listening

I’m in the middle of preparing some illustrations for a client, one of which needs to represent good service. I got stuck for ideas, so I asked Twitter for some visual cues to help describe what good service looks like. Among the replies, Meg Peppin suggested that because good service comes from paying attention, I should explore the Chinese symbols for listening. My curiosity aroused, off I went – and here is my attempt at representing what I found.

Chinese Listening

Acrylic paint and a stiff brush may not be the best tools to use – but if I’ve got this even vaguely close to the mark, this set of characters represents ears, eyes, undivided attention, and heart. Meg described it to me as paying respectful attention. This feels like a lovely, useful way to capture the essence of good listening so I thought I’d pass it on.

I had another go at the drawing this morning, this time using ink.

Chinese Listening 2

Thank you Meg, and everyone else who offered suggestions.


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