Today’s #GMAdvice post is all about listening. Listening is a skill like any other and one that can certainly be improved.
Applying that skill as a GM toward your players both individually and as a group is a critically important part of being a storyteller (or, more accurately, a story facilitator). In my experience, the best way to begin your path in becoming a better listener as a GM is to disassociate your wants & desires for the story from those of your players. You must always keep top of mind that the inertia of the story and reason for being at the table lies with your players.
So when a player or players find their voice and are giving you information, both obvious and subtle, when you’ve separated what you want/desire from what you’re hearing, then you can truly begin to listen.
And when players know the GM listens & cares, and is able to creatively intertwine what they hear with what happens, that’s when you get a truly invested and active table.