Ten Minute Tuesday: Let’s People Watch

10 minute People Watching Exercise

People watching is a lot of fun. I often find myself sitting at a coffee place or in the mall watching the observing the people around. Yes, even listening to conversations if they are loud enough. Great places to watch people: the park, the mall, cafe’s, coffee shops, and meetings. However, if you don’t make it an active practice or if you are just trying it for the first time, it is fun to think of it has a scavenger hunt. So if you feel stuck while out people watching, here are some ideas.
Is there someone around with a red shirt? Make notes of what there are doing? Appearance? Mannerisms? Just jot down quick first impressions of what you think their story is.
Anyone under the age of 10? Who are they with? What are they doing? Can you hear what they are saying?

Are you at a coffee shop or other place with servers? Pick one. Jot down first impressions.

Who is the loudest around you? What are they saying? Can you hear the whole conversation or just some? What happens if you just put down one side of the conversation?

Who is the oldest (appearing) person? How old do you think they are? Crabby or nice? Wise? Appearance?

Can you doodle or sketch what your re seeing around? Maybe place conversation bubbles above peoples heads?

People watching is a great practice in observing him and behavior. I recommend doing it even without taking notes. Just practice being observant of what is going on around you.  Observation allows for new ideas to enter our great brains and gets both sides working together. I wish I could remember which Ken Robinson book it was in but he talks about a scientist who was stuck on a particular problem. He took a break and went to the cafeteria or restaurant and was observing the way a plate was spun in the air. Something connected in his head that solved the problem he was working on just by taking a break and observing. I encourage to practice the art of people watching and observing. Take notes as a practice to begin and then, just watch. See what the world brings to you.

Below you will find a printable sheet with some of the questions as a prompt to get started.

people watching sheet 2

One thought on “Ten Minute Tuesday: Let’s People Watch

  1. I first got started actively “people watching” a handful of decades ago, as a teenager who had newly discovered writing talents. I had a best friend, also possessed by the soul of an artist/writer, who equally enjoyed this activity. We would whisper and giggle as we spontaneously made up stories we imagined fit the characters passing before us. Now, flash-forward to scenes of my creative soul sister (and real sister) and we can sometimes be found sharing those same chuckles and inspired stories started “off the cuff” from random observations such as you mention. Particularly insightful thoughts get jotted down, but otherwise, much is discussed enough we remember the best parts by the time we return home to our respective “writer’s nests” to weed out and put to use those juicy delights of the day.

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