Listening takes practice.

We've created the Listen First Conversation Guide below to share our best practices for engaging in more productive conversations characterized by listening first. Feel free to put them into practice yourself and share them with others. Keep us posted on how it goes!

Listen First Conversation Guidelines

Listen First Project

Before a Listen First Conversation...

  • Agree on the purpose of the conversation
  • Define the scope of focus and time limit for the conversation
  • Agree on a neutral location

In a Listen First Conversation...

  • Listen as you want to be listened to
  • Fully listen to and consider the other’s views before sharing your own
  • Prioritize respect and understanding
  • One person speaks at a time, wait for the other person to finish speaking
  • Be fully present and engaged: remove mental and physical distractions
  • Physically engage: eye contact, relaxed posture, nod, etc.
  • Maintain a calm and respectful tone as well as volume
  • Restate what you heard said to clarify understanding
  • Ask thoughtful and respectful questions

After a Listen First Conversation...

  • Share what you learned or gained from the experience
  • Honor confidentiality

Listen First Conversation Best Practices + Recommendations

Come with an open mind, humbly ready to learn and grow

Let go of your assumptions

Listen without judging

Seek to discover common interests and areas of agreement

Be fully present and curious rather than thinking about how you will respond

Be aware of sub-text: facial expressions, tone, body language

Ask open ended questions such as “How did you come to this way of thinking?”


Copyright Listen First Project, 2017