Listen First Conversations

A Listen First Conversation is any conversation characterized by civilityone that prioritizes respect and understanding. A Listen First Conversation might be between two friends or among many strangers. It might be on a park bench, in a classroom, in the workplace, at home, over text, or on the phone. Regardless of where you are or who you're with, here's how you do it!

Top 10 Guidelines for a Listen First Conversation

  1. Come with an open mind, ready to learn and grow
  2. Listen to others as you want them to listen to you
  3. Fully listen to and consider others' views before sharing your own
  4. Allow others the courtesy of silence while they are speaking
  5. Be fully present and curious rather than thinking of how to respond
  6. Maintain a calm and respectful tone when speaking and a relaxed posture when listening
  7. Physically engage free of distractions with eye contact and a relatively neutral expression
  8. 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”)
  9. Ask thoughtful and respectful questions, free from judgement, assumption, or bias
  10. Seek to discover common interests and areas of agreement by focusing more on why than what, more on personal experiences than positions

See the Complete Guide to Listen First Conversations

Many member of our Listen First Coalition have developed their own unique methods of Listen First Conversations. Explore our favorites below or simply use the guidelines in your own way.

Our Favorite Methods for Listen First Conversations

After reading the guidelines and exploring our favorite methods, start putting them into action by pledging to Listen First, having Listen First Conversations, and sharing them with others! Then let us know about your experience. Use hashtags #ListenFirst and #ListenFirstConversation to promote civil discourse among your friends!

Copyright Listen First Project, 2017