Are You Listening? ─ Learn 19 Powerful Listening Skills to improve your agile meetings | Will Jeffrey | Skillshare

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Are You Listening? ─ Learn 19 Powerful Listening Skills to improve your agile meetings

teacher avatar Will Jeffrey, Professional Agile Trainer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. Eliciting

    • 3. Moderating

    • 4. Listening Skills - Introduction

    • 5. Listening Skills for understanding

    • 6. Listening Skills for handling emotions

    • 7. Listening Skills for handling mind-sets

    • 8. Listening Skills for handling silence

    • 9. Listening Skills for handling differences

    • 10. Listening Skills for concluding

    • 11. Conclusion

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About This Class

When you listen, are you really listening?

What do you notice when you listen? Are you listening with your ears, your mind, your eyes? Your heart? Are your senses – sensors, and are you actually using everything your sensors offer to hear your intuition? Is your skin tingling right now? Now, give it voice!

Are you a good listener?

You are involved in projects. It means to you different meetings to attend. If you are an agile leader, that means leading meetings as well.

What do your meetings look like? 

That are good questions to ask ourselves.

"I'm following the Scrum guide to the letter. My team has every sprint all the scrum events: sprint planning, daily scrum, scrum review, scrum retrospective. I feel that's alright, doesn't it?"

You might have the impression you’re doing good. That Everyone in your team is happy. That You’re a great leader! You're AGILE...

However; researchers from Harvard Business School and Boston University, surveyed 182 senior managers across industries. Their results were telling: 65% of senior managers said that meetings keep them from completing their own work, 71% found them to be unproductive and inefficient, and 62% stated that meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.

Even with statistics like these, meetings are still a necessary evil in the workplace. But before you book that conference room, ask yourself:

Can I make progress? Can I improve my skills?

The intent of this course is to help you improve you skills in this regard.

These 2 questions are answered:

  • How can you stimulate valuable participation during your meetings?
  • How can you moderate the group when strong emotions happen, and keep the session productive?

You will learn:

  • How to improve your listening skills to consciously retraining your hearing
  • How to help your group make the most of your meetings
  • How to improve your understanding
  • How to handle emotions
  • How to manage mind-set
  • How to handle silence
  • How to handle different perspectives
  • How to conclude effectively

Listening skills discussed are: paraphrasing, mirroring, drawing people out, acknowledging feelings, validating, empathizing, stacking, tracking, helping people to listen to each other, listening with a point of view, encouraging, making space for a quiet person, balancing, intentional silence, linking, listening for the logic, legitimizing differences, listening for common ground & summarizing.

My goal with this course is to help you run meetings you actually want to attend.

I hope you will find it useful.

Course References:

  • Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making - Sam Kaner
  • The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook - Roger Schwarz
  • Agile Retrospectives Making Good Teams Great - Esther Derby and Diana Larsen
  • Improving Agile Retrospectives Helping Teams Become More Efficient - Marc Loeffler
  • The Manager’s Guide to Effective Meetings - Barbara J. Streibel

Learning Path:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Will Jeffrey

Professional Agile Trainer


Will has over 20 years of Software Development experience with his last 15 years in the role as Project Manager, Scrum Master and Agile Coach Master.

He managed or facilitated projects of different scale, project size from dozen man-days to hundred man-years.

He has trained & coached hundreds of professionals, including senior leaders in Fortune 500, startups, and entrepreneurial companies, to accelerate their impact and influence, and grow into their next-level of authentic and inspired leadership.

He now splits his time coaching executives, managers, as well as building up Scrum Masters, Product Owners, and Agile Coaches internally.


What Are Will's Core Skills

• Certified Scrum Master (10+ years running Web, Desktop & Mobile projec... See full profile

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1. Welcome: there is a good question. We need to ask ourselves, what do your meetings look like? You might have the impression you're doing good, that everyone on your team is happy that you're a great leader. However, researchers from Harvard Business School in Boston University surveyed 182 senior managers across industries their results were telling. 65% of senior managers said that meetings keep them from completing their own work, 71% found them to be unproductive and inefficient. And 62% stated that meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together. Even with statistics like these meetings, air still a necessary evil in the workplace. But before you book that conference room, ask yourself, Can I make progress? Can I improve my skills? Yes, you can. The intent of this course is to help you improve your skills in this regard. In this course, we will answer these two following questions. How can you stimulate valuable participation during your meetings? And how can you moderate the group when strong emotions happen and keep the session productive and you will see how to improve your listening skills to consciously retraining your hearing and help your group make the most of your meetings. You will learn how to improve your understanding, how to handle emotions. How do you manage mindset, how to handle silence, how to handle different perspectives and how to conclude effectively. We hope that thanks to this course, you will be able to run meetings you actually want to attend. 2. Eliciting: in this part, we will be talking about how to manage the group so that everyone is enabled to participate . You will learn how to be equitable by managing the group to let those who have something to say to do so. You will also be able to apply strategies for helping the team move forward, fostering the progressiveness of the meeting as great leaders. We want to ensure that people who have something to say have the chance. Watch out for people who are talking more or much less than others. What can be done to handle them? Make an opening for the quieter team members by asking to hear other opinions. Notice when someone looks as though he or she was about to speak but was cut off. Ask whether he or she has something to say. Create an opportunity without putting people on the spot or demanding an answer. For example, we haven't heard Tom and Julia yet. What would you add? Make sure people who have a lot to say don't dominate. When one team member is first to speak on every question, hold up a hand and say We've heard from you on every question Let's hear from some other people, keep your tone neutral. An emphatic delivery conveys blame and won't help the meeting. For example, we have heard from you on every question. Some are particularly prone to dominating the conversation, particularly to fill the dead air, asked them to let others talk first, acknowledged the contributions others make, and be careful how they disagree. If someone never keeps quiet. One. Talk to the person before the meeting in private to describe your observations. The impact on the team. Other people have stopped participating. Three. Ask him or her to hold back. Four. If the private conversation doesn't work, be directing the meeting. Let's see some strategies for helping your team move forward to restore their creative juices. Make a good use of questions. What have we tried before? What happened? What would we like to happen differently? What would we gain if we had that? Have we ever try this a different way? What happened? In addition to these questions, you might want to use the following strategies. Ask for more opinions, especially from people who have been thinking more than talking. Suggest additional research before committing to a solution. This should not be used as an excuse for indecisiveness, but only when warned it take off. The meeting leader had an offer content knowledge from personal experience. This should only be used when the team is stumped. Tell the team what to dio, but only if you want to cheat. They're learning. This should only be used when they suggest some sort of action that is an anti pattern. 3. Moderating: in this part, we will be talking about how to moderate the group when strong emotions happen and keep the session productive. Indeed, as meeting leader, you are not responsible for other people's emotions, but you are responsible for keeping the session productive. We're emphasizing the need for anticipating how you will respond negative behaviors to that hand. We will learn seven strategies to deal with individuals, emotions, most interactions and emotions. Help the group move forward. Some don't before you jump in to fix things. Notice your own response in a meeting. Your primary responsibility is to the interactions of the team as a whole, not to individuals. That doesn't mean ignoring what's going on with individual emotions. It means dealing with emotions in a way that is helpful and respectful to the team and the individual. Having a mental picture of how you'll respond gives you more options in the moment. Think of the strong emotion or negative behavior that scares you the most. Rehearse mentally, using one of these following strategies. You are not expected to encounter all these cases, but the idea is that you be ready just in case one of them happens. Let us now look at how to react to each of these situations. Blames starts a downward spiral of defensiveness. Encounter blame that will torpedo a meeting. How to handle them. Listen for you language. For example. Someone says you drive me crazy and listen for labelling statements like You're immature. Both signal blame. Blame hurts the meeting by distracting attention from real problems. Describing the behavior causes people to pause and consider what they're doing. Describe what you've seen and heard. I'm hearing labels in new language encourage I language why my language centers on the speakers observation and experience rather than labeling the other person. When you hear blame or personal criticism, intervene and redirect the discussion to the content. Let's see is an example what I experienced during an agile retrospective. One team member blames another for breaking the process. To build this software. We'd have met our target if it weren't for you. I say, Hold on. Can you say that? Using our language? The team member thinks for a while and then says I am angry that we missed our target because we had so much trouble fixing the build. Then the team is able to look at bigger issues with the build without blaming one individual. How to handle tears one. Offer a box of tissues to when the person is able to speak. Ask what is happening for you. Can you shared with the group, then cause three. Given time, the person often shares something heartfelt and usually relevant about the topic under discussion. How to handle shouting one. Intervene immediately. Hold up one hand is a stop sign and say calmly but forcefully Hold it. I wanted to hear what you have to say and I can't when you're shouting. Can you tell us why? Without shouting, don't be surprised if the person responds. I'm not shouting. When someone is upset, are excited. He or she may not be aware of the rising vocal volume. There's no need to say yes, you are calling attention to the yelling is usually enough to stop it. If your team member continues to blame or yell column, break and talk to the person privately, let him or her know how the behavior is affecting the group. Ask for agreement to express emotion in a non threatening way. If the person is unwilling, ask and don't tell him or her to leave and return when he or she has more self control. How to handle stomping out one. When a team member stomps out, let him or her go to ask the team what just happened. They will have an idea. Three. Ask whether it is possible to continue without the person who left. Most of the time. They'll say they can continue. Four. They may need to talk about the departure if this happens more than once. Another issue is at play. Talk to the individual outside the meeting. How to handle inappropriate laughter, a clowning one stepping when you notice an inappropriate situation, the laughter has an edge or your team repeatedly avoids the topic. To make an observation and ask a question. I've noticed that every time we get near this topic, someone tells a joke. What's happening? Three. Listen to the team. Tell you for engage the topic. The fact that a team goes quiet may not mean anything. They may be thinking tired or simply acquired. Group. When the silence is sudden or out of character, it's a clue worth following. In that case, step in with an observation. For example, it seems to me that the group is being awfully quiet. There was a lot of energy and conversation earlier. Three. Ask a question, for example, What's going on now? Here? Some potential reasons. Your team may just be tired and need a break. They may be unsure how to approach a topic. Once you asked the question, someone will figure out how to broach the topic, and the group dynamic will start again. How to handle currents beneath the surface side conversations might indicate something needs to be clarified or some in the team are uncomfortable with something. When side conversations are intense, ask the group what is going on? They will tell you you're now equipped to anticipate negative behaviors during meetings, and you will be able to deal with those individuals emotions. 4. Listening Skills - Introduction: Now we'll look at how to improve facilitation practices connected to listening before going further. We need to answer this question. Here is the problem that needs to be solved. An idea that is expressed in an acceptable communication style will be taken more seriously by more people. Conversely, ideas never presented poorly or offensively are harder for people to hear. For example, many people become restless when a speaker is repetitious. Group members can be impatient with shy or nervous members who speak haltingly. Others may not want to listen to exaggerations, distortions or unfounded pronouncements. Some people become overwhelmed when a speaker goes on a tangent and raises a point that seems unrelated to the subject. And some people are profoundly uncomfortable with anyone who shows too much emotion. In an ideal world, useful insights and ideas would be valued regardless of how they were expressed. But realistically we have in perfect tendencies. I win. The speaker has an unpleasant communication style. People just stopped listening to the substance of the ideas being expressed, no matter how valuable those ideas might be. Listening techniques helped the group to tolerate and accommodate diverse communication styles rather than needing ideas to be expressed in an acceptable fashion. In this way, the group will get a wider bandwidth of ideas and suggestions and thus, in the end, a better result. Good listening is a facilitators most important skill. For some, it may come naturally. For others, it is a work in progress. Thankfully, practicing these techniques can help us improve. There are coming from this bestseller Facilitators Guide to Participatory Decision making In the following sections. We'll study them in detail one by one. 5. Listening Skills for understanding: in this section, we are going to talk about paraphrasing, mirroring and drawing people out. Our goal is to demonstrate to a speaker that his or her thoughts were heard and understood . Paraphrasing is the most straightforward way to do this. Paraphrasing provides the speaker with a chance to hear how his or her ideas are being heard by others. The power of paraphrasing is that it is not judgmental. This is validating, enabling people to feel that their ideas are respected and legitimate. Paraphrasing is the tool of choice for supporting people to think out loud. What is the problem to be solved when a speaker's statements air convoluted or confusing? Paraphrasing is especially useful at such times. It serves as a check for clarification. Is this what you mean? Followed by the paraphrase? The solution in your own words? Say what you think, the speaker said. If the speakers statement contains one or two sentences, use roughly the same number of words when you paraphrase. If the speakers statement contains many sentences, summarize it. Strengthen the group's trust in your objectivity by occasionally preface ing your paraphrase with a comment like one of these. It sounds like you're saying, Let me see if I'm understanding you. Is this what you mean afterward? Look for the speakers reaction by checking that what you heard was what the speaker meant. Have I understood that right? Was it that what you wanted to say? Did I get it verbally or nonverbally? The speaker will indicate whether he or she feels understood. If not, keep asking for clarification until you have correctly paraphrased his view or idea. The problem some people experience paraphrasing is veiled criticism. For them, mirroring is evidence of the facilitators neutrality, newly formed groups and groups unfamiliar with using a facilitator, especially benefit from earing. The goal is to establish your own neutrality, is the facilitator and build trust in the group. Mirroring is a highly structured formal version of paraphrasing in which the facilitator repeats the speaker's words verbatim. This lets the speaker hear exactly what he or she just said. In general, the more a facilitator feels the need to establish neutrality, the more frequently he or she should mirror rather than paraphrase nearing speeds up the tempo of a slow moving discussion. Thus, it is the tool of choice when facilitating a brainstorming process. If the speaker has set a single sentence repeated back verbatim in the speaker's own words . If the speaker has said more than one sentence, repeat back you words or phrases. In either case, use the speaker's words, not your words. The one exception is when the speaker says I then change the pronoun to you, mirroring the speaker's words and mirroring the speakers tone of voice or two different things. You want your tone of voice to remain warm and accepting, regardless of what the speaker's voice sounds like. Be yourself with your gestures and tone of voice. Don't be would nor phony. Remember, a key purpose of mirroring is building trust. Let's see in practice how to gather ideas. Working on what gathering helps participants build a list of ideas at a fast moving pace. Gathering combines mirroring and paraphrasing the reflective listening skills with physical gestures. Taking a few steps to unfroze or making hand or arm motions are physical gestures that servas energy boosters. Such gestures help people stay engaged when gathering. Be sure to mirror more frequently than you Paraphrase. This establishes a lively yet comfortable tempo that is easy for most participants to follow. Many people quickly move into a rhythm of expressing their ideas and short phrases, typically 3 to 5 words per idea. These phrases air much easier to record on flip charts than long sentences, working on how effective gathering starts with a concise description of the task. For example, for the next 10 minutes, please unpack this proposal by calling out all the areas that might warrant further discussion. I'd like to gather up all the ideas first so we can see the full range of issues before we get specific. If it's the group's first time listing ideas, spend a little time teaching them suspend a judgment. For example, for this next activity. I'd like everyone to feel free to express their ideas, even the offbeat or unpopular ones. So please let this be a time for generating ideas, not judging them. The discussion can come as soon as you finish making a list. Now, have the group begin as members call out their items. Mirror paraphrase whatever is said on her all points of view. If someone says something that sounds off the wall just mirrored and keep moving problem. A person is having difficulty clearly expressing his idea or a statement is so confusing as being comprehensible. Goal helped participants clarify, develop and refine their ideas without coaching or intrusion. It's common to ask directive questions such as What is your goal, or how long will it take or how can you fix that problem? Directive? Questions like these are often useful, but they work by pointing the speaker in the direction that the questioner thinks would be helpful. This interrupts the speaker zone train of thought, which can be problematic when the speaker is still formulating his or her own point of view . By contrast, open ended non directive questions help the speaker rather than the ask her. Do the thinking. Drawing people out sends this message. I'm with you. I understand you so far. Now tell me more. This message supports people to think in more depth and to say more of what they're thinking. Here is the solution to implement first paraphrase the speakers statement, then ask open ended non directive questions. Can you say more about that? What else can you tell me? How so? What do you mean by what's coming up for you? Now what's your thinking about that? Can you give me an example, a less common method that also works well. First, paraphrase the speakers statement, then use the connectors, such as so and or because, for example, you're saying Toe wait six more weeks before we signed the contract because 6. Listening Skills for handling emotions: in this section, we are going to talk about acknowledging feelings, validating and empathizing. This builds on two skills covered in the previous section of this course. Paraphrasing and drawing people out here is the problem. People are frequently unaware of what they're feeling yet their conduct language, tone of voice and facial expressions to communicate these feelings. Thus, communication is often driven or shaped by information that we aren't even aware of. Sending these communications have a direct impact on anyone who receives them. That impact is much easier to manage when feelings are communicated directly rather than indirectly and intentionally rather than unconsciously. What is the goal? Raise everyone's awareness by identifying a feeling and naming it, especially in conversations and discussions that deal with difficult topics. By then paraphrasing and drawing people out, the facilitator assists the group to recognize and accept the feelings of its members. Acknowledging feelings is a three step process. First, when a group is engaging in a difficult conversation, pay attention to the emotional tone. Look for cues that might indicate the presence of feelings. Second, pose your observations as a question that names the feelings. You see, you sound a bit worried. Is that accurate? Looks like you're having a reaction to that. I'm guessing you're frustrated and my clothes from your tone of voice. You seem frustrated. Is it true this discussion seems to be bringing up some feelings for you? Are you upset? Is this what you're feeling? Third, use Facilitate of listening to support people to respond to the feelings you named validating also covers the question of handling emotions and builds on acknowledging feelings. The problem. How to support the expression of a controversial opinion without appearing to take sides. Can we acknowledge someone's feelings without implying? We agree with the speakers rationale for feeling that way. Our goal is legitimized and accept the speakers opinion or feeling without agreeing that the opinion is correct. Validating means recognizing a groups divergent opinions, not taking sides with anyone of them, just a. You don't have to agree with an opinion. To paraphrase it, you do not have to agree that a feeling is justified in order to accept invalidate it. The basic message of validating is yes. Clearly, that's one way to look at it. Others may see it differently. Even so, your point of view is entirely legitimate to use validating. It has three steps. First, paraphrase second, assess whether the speaker needs added support. Third, offer the support. Step one paraphrase and draw out the person's opinion or feeling step to ask yourself, Does this person need extra support? Has he or she just said something that takes a risk? Step three. Offer that support by acknowledging the legitimacy of what the person just said. For example, I see what you're saying. I get why this matters to you. I can see how you got there. Now I see where you're coming from. Some people, when they feel validated, are prone to open up and say even more. When this happens, be respectful. You're not agreeing you're supporting someone to speak his or her truthful perspective. Empathizing builds further on acknowledging feelings, invalidating what is the problem here? Our inherent difficulty in understanding and sharing the feelings of another our goal provide everyone with a fuller, compassionate understanding of the speakers. Subjective reality empathizing involves putting oneself in another person's shoes and looking out on the world through that person's eyes. The listener then imagines what the person might be feeling and why, and forms this insight into a statement of acceptance and support. Such statements benefit the entire group, assisting them to have the same empathy, empathizing, invalidating, both served to identify and legitimize feelings. Empathizing goes one step further. The listener attempts to identify with and shared the actual feeling. For example, If it were me, I'd be worried. That must be really hard. I'd be feeling very, very sad. Empathizing can be performed using different techniques. The most basic technique is to name what you think a person is experiencing. For example, empathizing can be performed using different techniques. The most basic technique is to name what you think a person is experiencing. For example, I imagine this news might be quite upsetting to you. Another technique is to mention the factors that led up to the person's experience. After all the effort you made to keep this project alive, I imagine this news might be quite upsetting. 1/3 technique is to speculate on future impacts. I can see how this news could also play havoc with your other commitments. Has that brought up any feelings? Yet 1/4 option is to identify concerns about communicating these feelings to others. I could imagine it might be hard to talk about this topic in this group. Always ask for confirmation if the speaker says that's not my experience, encourage him or her to correct your perception. 7. Listening Skills for handling mind-sets: in this section, we are going to talk about stacking, tracking, helping people listen to each other and listening with a point of view. We wanted to put participants in a better position to actually listen in a calm discussion , instead of just waiting for a break in the flow of the talk to jamming their opinion. Stacking is a procedure for helping people take turns when several people want to speak at once. Stacking lets everyone know that they are in fact going to have their turn to speak. So instead of competing for airtime, people are free to listen without distraction. When people don't know when or even whether they're turn will come, they can't help advise her position. This leads to various expressions of impatience and disrespect, especially interruptions. Facilitators who do not stack have to pay attention to the waving of hands and other non verbal messages that say, I'd like to speak please. Inevitably, some members, air skipped or ignored with stacking a facilitator creates a sequence that includes all those who want to speak. This makes sure that whoever has the floor has the exclusive right to speak and is not interrupted. Stacking is a four step procedure. First, the facilitator asks those who want to speak to raise their hands. Second, he or she creates a speaking order by assigning a number to each person. Third, he or she calls on people when they're turned to speak. Arrives fourth after the final speaker, the facilitator asks if anyone else wants to speak. If so, the facilitator starts another stack. Here's a demonstration to make this clearer. Everyone who has something to say about that. Please raise your hands, Paul. You first, then Sonia and third Stephen after Paul is finished. Who was second? Was it you, Sonia? OK, go ahead. When everyone has spoken, who would like to speak now? Are there any more comments? Then start a new stack and repeat from step to. By creating a speaking order, we want to keep track of the various lines of thought that are going on simultaneously within a single discussion. Tracking makes it visible that several threads of the topic are being discussed. In so doing, it affirms that each threat is equally valid. People often act as though the particular issue that interests them is the one that everyone should focus on For example, suppose the group is discussing a plan to hire a new employee. Assume that two people are talking about roles and responsibilities to others are discussing financial implications, and two more are reviewing their experiences with the previous employees. In such cases, people need help keeping track of all that's going on because they are focused primarily on clarifying their own ideas. Tracking is a four step process. First, the facilitator indicates that he or she is going to step back and summarize the discussion . So far, second, he or she names the different conversations that have been in play. Third, he or she checks for accuracy with the group Fourth, he or she now invites the group to resume discussion. Let's take an example. It seems that there are three conversations going on right now. I want to make sure I'm tracking them. One conversation appears to be about roles and responsibilities. Another has to do with finances, and 1/3 is about what you've learned by working with the last person who held this job. Am I getting it right? Often someone will say, No, you missed mine. If so, don't argue, are explained. Just validate the comment and move on. Any more comments now resume the discussion here. This is not so much about handling emotions as it is about managing mindset. What is the problem? Many group members feel that they're doing a good job of listening by simply paying attention to what's being said. They don't often take the step of questioning what they hear in order to gain a view of that person's context, assumptions and values. We want to support people to interact with each other's ideas and gain a window into the speakers. Mind doing this work is a critical step towards building mutual understanding. This technique also plays an important role in group development and cohesion as it helps everyone discover that they can question or challenge each other's ideas without upsetting people. Here are some questions that help people listen to each other. What did you hear Jim say? Does anyone have any questions for Joan? Who else is resonating with? What can he should just said? What part of Armando is idea Doesn't work for you. Who's got a response to Williams? Comments Sue. How would Naomi's idea play out from where you sit? Can you restate Ichiro's remarks in different words. Do you feel that Allen understands what you said? I wonder if we're getting your point, Ronny, can someone summarize after someone responds to one of these questions, followed by encouraging others to speak to? For example, does anyone have a similar view? Did anyone else want to weigh in? This is also about managing mindset, but this time your own the problem. The group's facilitator is also the group's leader or expert or staff person. In other words, not a neutral third party. This creates a dilemma. How does this person promote his own point of view effectively, while still making room for all other opinions to be voiced? The goal here keep both roles in balance by alternating the mindset of a troll. On the one hand, he has to retain the mindset of a leader and be responsible for clarifying his own thinking and communicating it effectively. On the other hand, he has to adopt the mindset of a facilitator and care about helping the group do its best thinking. This requires a focus on supporting others to develop their lines of thought. Listening with a point of view is a five step Process. Step one as the leader or expert or staff person raised the issue about which you have an opinion. State your position. Step two asked for reactions. Step three. Respond to participants. Comments as a facilitator would, by paraphrasing and drawing people out, are on the side of more drawing out rather than less. Many people find it hard to challenge authority. They may need extra support to risk voicing a differing opinion. Step for after at least two moves. A facilitated listening Give yourself the floor to speak now. Make statements that reflect your own perspective. Answer questions. Provide information, Explain advocate and so forth. Step five. Repeat steps two through four is needed remembering to balance expressing your own point of view with at least twice as much facilitated listening. 8. Listening Skills for handling silence: in this section, we are going to talk about encouraging, making space for a quiet person balancing and intentional silence. One of the most awkward situations in the meeting is how to handle silence reminiscent of contests to see who can hold their nerve the longest. Some folks may appear to be sitting back or letting others do all the work. Does this mean that they're lazy or irresponsible? Not necessarily. Perhaps they're just not feeling engaged by the topic at hand. Some people find that a bit of gentle encouragement helps them to relax or focus or connect with a cop economy meaningful level. We want to create an opening for people to participate without putting any one individual on the spot. Encouraging is especially helpful during the early part of the discussion. As people warm up to the subject, they are more likely to speak up without further assistance. Deliberately ask for more points of view and more ideas here. Some examples of the use of encouraging during a discussion. Who else has an idea? Can anyone give us an example of this principle in action? Would someone who hasn't spoken yet like to comment on this is this discussion, raising questions for anyone. How could we get to the heart of this? At times, it's useful to restate the objective of a discussion before posing the question. For example, we've been looking at the root causes of this problem. Who else has a comment? This technique also covers the question of handling silence. But taking into account those who are naturally introverted. When a group has a fast paced discussion style, quiet members and slower thinkers may have trouble getting a word in edgewise. Every group has some members who are highly verbal and others who speak less frequently. What reservations might some people have? Some people habitually keep out of the limelight because they're afraid of being perceived as rude, ambitious or competitive. Others might hold back when they're new to a group and unsure of what's acceptable and what's not. Still others keep their thoughts to themselves because they're convinced their ideas aren't as good as those of others. What is our goal? Send the quiet person this message. If you don't wish to talk now, that's fine. But if you would like to speak, here's an opportunity. Quiet people benefit from a facilitator who makes space for them to participate. How to use this technique? First, keep an eye on the quiet members. Be on the lookout for body language or facial expressions that may indicate their desire to speak. Second, invite them to speak. For example. Was there thought you wanted to express? Did you want to add anything? You look as if you might be about to say something. If they decline, be gracious and move on. No one likes being put on the spot, and everyone is entitled to choose whether and when to participate. If necessary. Hold others off, for example, if a quiet member makes a move to speak. But someone jumps in ahead, say, Let's go one at a time, Terry, why don't you go first? If participation is very uneven, consider suggesting a structured go around to give each person a chance to speak. This continues the question of handling silence, but with different causes. There is the belief in the common myth that silence indicates agreement. Why might this not be the case? Why might silence not indicate agreement? The direction of a discussion often follows the lead set by the first few people who speak on the topic. We want to broaden the discussion to include other perspectives that may not yet have been expressed. Balancing provides support to individuals who don't feel safe to express minority views. Balancing also has a positive effect on the culture of the group. It sends the message it is acceptable for people to speak their mind, no matter what opinions they hold. Balancing questions elicit fresh new lines of inquiry here. Some examples of balancing in action Are there other ways of looking at this issue? Does everyone else agree with this perspective? Okay, we have heard where many people stand on this matter. Does anyone else have a different position? So the group has raised various challenges to this proposal. Does anyone want to speak in its favor to examine the validity of this idea? Who would like to argue against it? This continues the question of handling silence, but this time actually embracing it. People need time to think before they respond. Some people need brief silence in order to organize a complex thought and turn it into a coherent statement. Others need a bit of time to consider whether to take the risk to say something that might be controversial. Still others need the silence to digest what has already been said, so they can assess their own reactions and formulate their responses. Give participants that brief, extra quiet time to get their thoughts in order before speaking, or to take in something unusual that has been said. Intentional silence can also be used to honor moments of exceptional poignancy. After a statement of sadness, regret or vulnerability. Intentional silence allows the group to pause, reflect and make sense of the experience. Intentional silence is highly underrated. It consists of a pause, usually lasting no more than a few seconds. 10 seconds of silence can seem a lot longer than it really is. The crucial element of this listening skill is the facilitators ability to tolerate the awkwardness most people feel during even brief silences. If the facilitator can survive it, everyone else will, too. With eye contact and body language, stay focused on the speaker. Say nothing, not even more. Aha! Do not even nod or shake your head. Just stay relaxed and pay attention. If necessary. Hold up a hand to keep others from breaking the silence figure handbrake. Sometimes everyone in the group is confused or agitated or having trouble focusing at such times. Silence may be very helpful. Say, let's take a few moments of silence to think what this means to each of us. 9. Listening Skills for handling differences: in this section, we are going to talk about linking, listening for the logic, legitimizing differences and listening for common ground builds on a number of skills covered, already paraphrasing, drawing out, stacking, validating, encouraging, balancing the problem here in conversations about complex subjects. It is hard for everyone to stay focused on the same thing at the same time, similar to problem addressed by tracking where people tend to focus on their own angle. But here the issue is not bias, but just that all are different. People often raise issues that seem tangential, in other words, irrelevant to everyone else. When this occurs, it's not uncommon to hear a group members say something like, Let's get back on track. Or can we take this offline remarks like those air hard to take? Unless the facilitator intervenes, the speaker is likely to simply stop talking. Why is this a bad thing? The thought that comes from left field out of nowhere is often the one that triggers the break through. Invite a speaker to explain the relevance of a statement he or she just made ideas that seem unrelated to the main topic can actually be connected with it often in unexpected ways . Linking is a four step process. First paraphrase the statement. Second, asked the speaker toe lengthy idea with the main topic. Third paraphrase. Invalidate the speakers. Explanation. Fourth, follow with an action from the list below Step one paraphrase Why? Embarrassed by the group's complaints, some speakers will need the support step to ask for the linkage. How does your idea link up with our topic? Can you help us make the connection? Step three. Validate the explanation. Are you saying paraphrase? Then? Say I see what you mean. Step for Follow with one of thes. Draw out the speakers idea asking open ended questions for clarification. Used balancing were encouraging to pull for other reactions. Return to stacking. Okay, we have Jim's idea. Whose turn is it to go next? If the idea is genuinely off topic recorded on a parking lot flip chart, a situation we often need to facilitate is when handling different perspectives from team members. This is the first of the skills in this area. The problem. Constructive criticism of a new idea is dismissed by others who don't want to risk derailing the group's enthusiasm. Solutions to challenging problems often emergent faces. First, someone has an insight that other people see it and shape it into an idea that has good potential to be useful. Then comes the critical thinking that can refine the idea until it is worthy of implementation. But often when an idea hits that good but still rough stage, some folks become impatient, preferring to delegate the critical thinking toe. One or two people to do the detail work elsewhere. Note the contrast to situations that call for balancing in those situations. No one is forthcoming with critique, but in this situation that critique is squashed. Support the person with the critique to express his or her thoughts fully. Listening for the logic also grounds the group the messages. If a facilitator can hear this line of reasoning, so can you. From a standpoint of facilitators technique, listening for the logic is very similar to paraphrasing and drawing people out. What's different is what you are listening for. Rather than listen for signs of someone struggling to make a point, you're listening for the logic of the speakers reasoning, and you are assessing whether the group appears to be digesting it or resisting it. A speaker is providing a logical analysis when, for example, he or she challenges an assertion, identifies a bias questions a requirement seeks to clarify an ambiguity, makes explicit an assumption, points out a contradiction. When someone offers this type of reasoning and the group responds constructively, stay back and let everyone work. However, when you see a speaker's logic being pushed away, paraphrase it drawn to speaker out and asked the group for their reactions by helping people listen to each other. This technique also covers the question of handling different perspectives. Problem. It is often hard to see the merits of a competing point of view, especially true when someone feels strongly about a position he or she holds when two or more parties hold different views, it's easy for them and therefore an entire group to become bogged down in tiresome, repetitive argumentation. We want to recognize that each party is making legitimate points might seem similar to validating, but there were more concerned with the expression of strong emotions or opinions. Here, the emphasis is in competing views. Legitimizing differences is away for a facilitator to break this deadlock and demonstrate that everyone's views air being respected. This creates an opportunity for everyone to step back, take a breath and acknowledge that their own perspective is not the only one with validity . It's surprising how often people are better able to understand one another's competing points of view when those differences are both legitimized by a neutral third party. Legitimizing differences is a three step process. Step one. Start with a sentence that demonstrates your good faith and neutrality. Then tell people what you intend to do. You're both making good points here. I want to now summarize them so we can treat both views as legitimate step to summarize their views. Gina, if I'm getting you, write your emphasizing the need for including the new functionality. Because not taking that step could lead to serious repercussions. Correct, Daniel. My impression is that you're pointing out that acting now without data or a support system in place will turn out even worse. Yes, step three explicitly legitimize and invite others to comment. Your arguments both sound compelling, even though they lead to opposite conclusions. Does anyone have thoughts about this? This continues the question of handling different perspectives. The problem to address here, members of the group had become polarized. Taking completely different points of view has become a tendency. When members of a group take polarised positions, it could be tough for people to remember that they have anything in common. We want to validate the group's areas of disagreement and focus the group on their areas of agreement. Many disputes contain elements of agreement. For example. Advocacy groups often have heated internal debates over tactics, even while remaining agreed on key strategic goals. The dichotomies can sometimes be transcended when a facilitator validates both the differences in the group. In the areas of common ground, listening for common ground is also a tool for instilling hope. People who believe they are opposed on every front may discover that they share value, a belief or a goal. This is a four step process. First, indicate that you are going to summarize the group's differences and similarities. Let me summarize what I'm hearing from each of you. I'm hearing a lot of differences, but also some similarities. Second summarized the differences. It sounds as if one group wants to leave work early each day during the holiday season, and the other group would prefer to take a few days of vacation. Third note areas of common ground. Even so, you all seem to agree that you want some time off during that period. Fourth check for accuracy. Have I got it right? I just want to share this caution with you to use this technique effectively. Make sure that all parties are included. People whose views have not been at least partially integrated into the shared framework tend to stay focused on their own positions. 10. Listening Skills for concluding: the last but not least in this section. We are going to talk about summarizing appropriate that this is last. As it's all about concluding effectively, the most interesting conversations can also be the hardest ones too close. The irony is that this is likely to happen after you've encouraged participants to engage in vigorous discussion. Ending in discussion abruptly can make a facilitator seem pushy. For example, suppose a facilitator said, Okay, time's up. Let's move to the next topic. This statement, while inoffensive, can be taken as an expression of impatience. Sometimes people respond with knee jerk resistance, our goal and the discussion in an agreeable, supportive and satisfying manner. Making a deliberate effort to summarize the discussion helps participants consolidate their thinking. A restatement of key themes and main points helps people internalize and categorize them. These categories help improve one's understanding of what just transpired, and they also service memory AIDS to improve future Recall. Summarizing is a five step process. Step one. Restate the question that began the discussion. We've been discussing the success of your program step to indicate the number of key themes you heard. I think people raised three themes. Step three name the first theme and mentioned one or two key points related to that theme. The first thing was about your strategy. You export its effectiveness and suggested some improvements. Step four. Repeat this sequence for each theme. Another theme was The validity of your main goal. You questioned whether it was feasible and realistic. Finally, you examine some personnel issues and you created a new staff role. Step five Pose a question to bridge to the next topic. You have done some solid thinking about the effectiveness of the program, anything else before you move to the next topic on the agenda. 11. Conclusion: congratulations. You have reached the end of this course. So what did you learn? Let's summarise the main items we covered for eliciting participation. We emphasize the value of ensuring that people who have something to say have the chance. We will do that by making an opening for the quieter team members by asking to hear other opinions and by making sure people who have a lot to say don't dominate. We have also seen strategies for helping your team move forward by making a good use of questions like what have we tried before? What happened, or have we ever tried this a different way? What happened? We discussed strategies, is asking for more opinions suggesting additional research before committing to a solution . Taking the meeting leader had an offer content knowledge from personal experience and as a last resort, telling the team what to dio When it comes to moderating interactions, it was mentioned before you to jump in to fix things. The importance to notice your own response. Trying to have a mental picture of how you'll respond gives you more options in the moment . We have also discussed how to deal with seven individuals emotions and finally we had a deep dive into 19 listening techniques. So let's go back to our initial problem and see how these listening skills should improve things. What was the problem? The substance of good ideas that are presented poorly or offensively. It's harder for people to hear into value. For example, many people become restless when a speaker is repetitious. Group members can be impatient with shy are nervous members who speak haltingly. Others may not want to listen to exaggerations, distortions or unfounded pronouncements. Some people become overwhelmed when a speaker goes on a tangent and raises a point that seems unrelated to the subject. And some people are profoundly uncomfortable with anyone who shows too much emotion solution, treating every participant with respect by listening carefully and, if necessary, by helping them to express themselves. For example, when someone constantly repeats himself, Ah, facilitator can use paraphrasing to help that person summarises thinking when someone is speaking an awkward broken sentences, a facilitator can help the speaker relax by drawing him or her out with open ended non directive questions. When someone is exaggerating or distorting, Ah, facilitator can validate the central point without quarrelling over its accuracy when someone seems to be starting a whole new discussion. Ah, facilitator can ask the person to help everyone see how his or her point connects with the broader context when someone expresses himself with intense feeling, Ah, facilitator can first acknowledge the emotion, then paraphrase the content of the speakers point to ensure that it does not get lost amid the group. Scott reactions We hope that you enjoyed this course and you will be able to run meetings you actually want to attend.