Listen First Conversations - Complete Guide
For an introduction to Listen First Conversations and our Top 10 Guidelines, click here.
Before a Listen First Conversation...
- Come with an open mind, ready to learn and grow
- Let go of your assumptions about the other person
- Agree on the purpose of the conversation
- Define the scope, focus, and available topics for the conversation
- Set time limits for the conversation as well as well as ground rules for speaking turns
- Agree on a neutral location
In a Listen First Conversation...
- Listen to others as you want them to listen to you
- Prioritize respect and understanding
- Fully listen to and consider others' views before sharing your own
- Allow others the courtesy of silence while they are speaking
- Never hijack the speaking turn or interrupt to make your point
- Be fully present and curious rather than thinking of how to respond
- Maintain a calm and respectful tone when speaking and a relaxed posture when listening
- Physically engage free of distractions with eye contact and a relatively neutral expression
- Be aware of sub-text: facial expressions, tone, body language
- Restate what you heard to clarify understanding, making sure to use "I" statements (“What I heard you say was” or “The way I understand your position is”)
- Ask thoughtful and respectful questions, free from judgement, assumption, or bias
- Seek to discover common interests and areas of agreement by focusing more on why than what, more on personal experiences than positions
After a Listen First Conversation...
- Share what you learned and gained from the experience
- Take what you learned into your next conversation while honoring confidentiality
Copyright Listen First Project, 2017