Listening better

two mugs on a table - the 3 part workshop process content is printed on them

A 90 minute to full day workshop on listening skills and practice

Workshop description

Question: how do we start listening better?

This workshop starts with being together.

The three part structure of the workshop starts with the single most important part of active listening: holding a place to listen to another person and to let them hear themself.

Spending this time together to think about listening and to practice listening is critical and powerful.

Question: what is so hard about listening?

We live in a culture that values talking and fluency of speech. Listening is disregarded but that is not what is hard.

Listening is hard because it demands we quieten our voice, both externally and internally. We must pause to listen.

This workshop gives people time to practice pausing and quieten their voices. Confidence comes thru shared practice in a place of trust.

Question: who is the barrier to listening better?

The final element of this workshop is facing the big barrier to listening better. It is ourselves.

Check your self to listen more deeply. Again, this is why a workshop needs to be a shared experience of guided doubt in personal opinions and knowledge. To listen to others means check your own opinions and using questioning techniques to probe how the person you are listening to thinks of their own self.

We check ourselves so as to enable people to check themselves.

How long a workshop?

This workshop has been run in different places (online and in-person) in many different lengths; from 30 minutes to full day.

How long you choose depends on how long you think you can assemble people for. It is better to start than do nothing at all. As the three step Active Listening process says Hold a place.

The more time we have together, the more we can talk about different ways of listening (like structure enquiry and non violent communication) and more ways of practicing listening (like reflection and sympathy).

I recomend 90 minutes as the minimum time for a workshop. A half day workshop is a good length for a conference and covers much of the theory and practice. A full day provides a lot of time for people to build personal confidence and skills and for teams to understand more effective strategies and methods.


people sitting in couples talking and listening together
From EuroIA conference
Group of three - two talking and listerning and one observing
From Bristol workshop
two people practicing listening
From Palo Alto workshop


This workshop can be easily added to any conference that wants to explore how listening affects better us all. The themes and ideas can either be kept at a broad level (for mixed audiences) or tightened to specific topics (for specialist or more experienced audiences).

For in-house training, the workshop can be customised to meet corporate purposes (in terms of strategic or project goals). This means adapting the workshop to align with pre-existing content, internal language and anticipated needs.


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