Guidance for Listening Partner Conversations

For our August 2020 listening sessions, Conversations in Color, we've invited everyone listening to do so with a listening partner. As you begin to have conversations with your listening partner here are some things that may help you set yourselves up for success: Arriving at agreements for how you will take care of one another is a really great way to go from listening partner to accountability partner. Here are some examples that the community representatives and I came up with for this listening series:

  • Share the air - Take and make space for everyone
  • There is no need to validate or qualify your experience - we accept and believe each other’s truths
  • Conflict is not always a bad thing – lean into the discomfort with knowing that you want to come out the other side having a deeper understanding of what caused the temporary rift
  • Come from a place of curiosity and not judgment
  • Challenge with compassion, empathy, and love
  • Work to not be offended – this goes beyond assuming best intentions
  • Authenticity - Bring all the intersections of your identity into the room with you, unapologetically if you are a BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+
  • Pay attention to what is happening in your body as discomfort arises and if you so choose, please say it out loud

Here are some questions/reminders that may help guide your conversations:

  • What resonated with you from the Listening Sessions?
  • What were you surprised by and why?
  • It is important to begin recognizing your own triggers so that you can grow in these areas –
  • What topics made you uncomfortable in your mind and body?
  • How did that discomfort manifest?
  • How long did that feeling stay with you?
  • For Black/Indigenous/People of Color
  • Explore the questions above through your own cultural, racial and lived experience
  • What would you contribute to the conversations?
  • What was missing from the conversations?
  • For White allies
  • Sincere listening may help you uncover some privileges you hold and benefit from
  • Remember, your partner is not there to educate you and you are not there to question their truths and realities
  • The discomfort will pass – you are building endurance to be an effective ally
  • Your effort is appreciated, even if it is not stated
  • Allow the conversation to go where it needs to – be flexible

A reminder about the next invitation: 1:00 - 2:15pm Eastern, Tuesday, 9/1/20: Wrap Up session. (If you registered for previous sessions you are registered for this. If not, register now). In this Wrap up we invite you to share your experience and your reactions to these Listening Sessions. We would especially like to hear from those that did the work of having their own private listening partner conversation. The Wrap Up session will be recorded. At the end of your own partner conversation, please take a moment to check in with each other to see how comfortable you are with sharing anything that came up in your private conversation.