Monday, April 27, 2015

Notes on Group Facilitation training

I attended a class on facilitation.  One activity we did was active listening practice, in groups of three.  One person talks for a few minutes on a given topic, the second person listens actively (e.g., paraphrasing, mirroring, open-ended questions, etc.), and the third person observes.  The topic was, what are your strengths and weaknesses as an attentive listener?

When it was my turn to be the speaker, I explained that I'm pretty quick to understand what people are trying to tell me, but often too quick: I may interrupt to show I understand, but rob the other person of feeling heard.  And they may not feel confident that they are understood.  Or, I may mis-understand and jump to conclusions.  The assigned listener was, by this point, a little overwhelmed by the recursive nature of the exercise.  After the allotted minutes, the observer is supposed to report to the listener what they observed while the listener uses active listening to receive the feedback.  The first thing the observer said was, "You are perhaps trying to understand and failing to listen."

It was a bit like this.

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