A Listening Circle is a facilitated process to provide individuals an opportunity to share their perspective, to experience and give the experience of empathy and compassion of Listening, and to contribute to a collective voice for developing positive solutions.
What happens in a Listening Circle?
A facilitator meets with a small group (8-10 individuals) who have a challenging situation in common to conduct a circle process. The process gives each participant the chance to respond to a structured question/prompt intended to provide a chance to be heard and to build empathy and understanding. This is sharing with the purpose of listening and connecting, it is not a discussion or debate and it is confidential within the group. The facilitator will summarize the themes of the responses to wrap up the session. If planned and shared in the beginning, facilitators will provide summaries of the Circle without identifying participants for the purpose of providing ideas for the development of positive solutions or next steps.
What are the benefits of Listening Circles?
Listening is the best way to gain understanding and empathy for what people need in difficult situations. Listening is an act of compassion. With an increasing sense of chaos and urgency Listening Circles ask us to pause and connect with each other in new ways. The process models vulnerability, flexibility and openness. Participating in a Circle creates a space for reflection and can give people the grounding they need to learn from one another.