by Connection Action Project, SF Bay Area
- 1-3 deep listeners (in addition to you)
- 1 shade tent, canopy, or other structure
- Folding chairs or other places to sit – least 2 for each listener
- Find a place and time to have your Deep Listening Post. We have secured space at some farmers’ markets by simply showing up and asking for one. Other farmers’ markets require an application in advance. We have also deployed at festivals. We also imagine Posts at parks, outside government buildings, and anywhere else there are people.
- Recruit a small team of deep listeners to staff the Post with you. You’ll want people who are
- great listeners
- capable of honoring vastly different points of view from their own, including very different political viewpoints
- comfortable with demonstrations of feelings and vulnerability
- able to accept contradictions
- committed to being of service to, and present with others
Recruit from your friends, local NVC community, or other group. It’s good to work with people you know or who others can vouch for, but it’s good to try out new people too.
- Get yourself, your team and your gear to the site on the day of your post – early. Set up early so you can start your Post with calmness and grace.
- Be inviting. We have found that we make more connections when we stand in front of the canopy, as opposed to when we’re sitting. People ask what we’re doing. We’ve found it helpful to start listening right away with an empathic guess like “Are you curious about this because you’ve never seen anything like this before?” We like to respond with immediate interest. We listen to how they respond and reflect what we’re hearing if it feels natural to do so. We also share with them candidly about why we’re there ourselves. Among us, each of us have different reasons to be there; our reasons have included:
- to practice our deep listening
- to take a stand and show that deep listening is important
- to meet other people with similar values
- to evangelize about deep listening
- to meet our need for contribution
If the conversation deepens, we invite people to sit down and share some more.
- Be great with people. We don’t have to do anything — we just sit and listen. We can check to make sure we understand by reflecting what the visitor says when there is a pause. Another powerful technique is to reflect what we’re hearing is most important to the speaker. We DON’T give advice unless it’s specifically requested.
- Be with them until they are ready to move on. The conversation may start turning to something else other than what they started with, many times something like joy, gratitude, relief, humor, or just wanting to get up and go.
- Have your team stay afterwards and debrief. We’ve found that the debrief can be the most satisfying part of the deployment. We check in with each other. We share how it was for each of us, whether there were any aspects of the event that were particularly meaningful or challenging.