“I think we are still coming to terms with this new way of communicating online…”
So says Helen Blunden in her lovely blog, written as a follow up to a Spaces for Listening session I recently facilitated.
Spaces for Listening is a model developed by Brigid Russell and Charlie Jones that allows participants to
“have an equal opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings, and to experience an equality of listening…”
They note that:
“There seems to be a yearning for space, a chance to be heard. Many of us are seeking to understand more about what’s going on, and where we might go next. If we are going to find the most sustainable and humane ways to move forward from the current Covid-19 crisis, then don’t we need a better quality of conversations? Getting on with creating these spaces, keeping it simple yet meaningful, seems like a bold idea.”
In her blog about the session, Helen seems to have intuitively picked up on this idea of an “equality of listening” and shares her observations on the power of the mute button. You can read her blog here.
Another participant fed back that Spaces for Listening could be seen to be an exercise in deep listening, affording participants the experience of “listening to understand” rather than “listening to respond”.
It’s mad, isn’t it, that we have arrived at a place where a simple, natural, fundamental act like listening is now being rediscovered and reappraised as a radical act of communication and empathy. But, as simple an act as listening is, it is of profound importance. The Zoom experience is here to stay, I think, and its sudden overtake of our working lives last year felt discombobulating for many. But perhaps a gift of that experience is that it is making many of us consciously think about the art of communicating: of what it is to talk, to be heard, to listen, to understand.
If you are on Twitter, check out #SpacesForListening. You can also find out about it here.
If you are up for a creative and reflexive conversation to help you get a handle on 2020, perhaps you would be interested in my upcoming Word Rescue sessions? More information here.