Listen In! Facilitators know the Power, Do You?
I’ve been reading a fair few articles recently that have highlighted the absence, cost and consequences of poor listening or the presence, value and power of real listening. As facilitators we truly know the value of listening intently. Everyone listens, its just the quality that varies! Once recent headline in The Guardian by Deborah Orr read ‘Listening is fantastically powerful and soothing – we need more of it’. (click on the headline to go to the full article). The focus of the article centres around the idea of working co-operatively, which is reflected in the current government through the coalition right through to the local committee set up to oppose a wind farm or create a sports club. A new book by the sociologist Richard Sennett ‘Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-operation’ highlights some of the skills we so desperately need to teach, develop and nurture in our society: Listening skills; subjective expression and empathetic skills. There are models for where these skills are already demonstrated in everyday society, its just that they are the exception rather than the norm. Facilitators can do much to draw attention to and support the development of these skills in groups they work with, we just need our clients to give us the time!