Posted on July 7, 2017

#FellowshipofWords: Listening and the World Café

If you’re not familiar with my #FellowshipofWords idea, you may want to read my original blog post at http://tinyurl.com/jtjpamr.

I was reading a recent YALSA blog post, “Creating Tomorrow’s Civic Leaders by Learning  to be Civically Engaged Today” (http://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2017/07/03/yals-summer-2017-resources-creating-tomorrows-civic-leaders-by-learning-to-be-civically-engaged-today/) and it had a reference to the World Café (http://www.theworldcafe.com). Intrigued, I clicked on their website and found a whole international community I didn’t know about. Like my original concept of the #FellowshipofWords, the World Café uses words, in this case dialogue, to build community. In the History tab, they describe the first series of small group conversations that allowed people to share ideas and deepen connections and ideas (http://www.theworldcafe.com/about-us/history/). They went on to create an approach that others can use for the same effect. Their 7 Key Concepts and Design Principles are too complex for me to sum up quickly, so I encourage you to read them on your own. But I’ll quote one here:

Key Concept 6) Listen together for Patterns and Insights

Listening is a gift we give to one another. The quality of our listening is perhaps the most important factor determining the success of a Café. Through practicing shared listening and paying attention to themes, patterns and insights, we begin to sense a connection to the larger whole. Encourage people to listen for what is not being spoken along with what is being shared.

(from http://www.theworldcafe.com/key-concepts-resources/design-principles/)

This is an important concept, and what I think is missing from much of our communication nowadays. We need to listen to each other in order to make connections, in ideas and with people. It’s a simple yet difficult thing to do. We are all human, and many of us are more interested in vocalizing our ideas than we are in learning about others’. But we can only learn and think deeply if we really listen to people.

My resolution for the rest of this year is to try to speak less and listen more. Maybe then I can pick up on patterns and insights and really contribute to the conversations I have with others. It’s one way I can add to the #FellowshipofWords.

How are things going with you in your own search for fellowship this year? Please feel free to comment on this post.

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