Meaningful conversation creates trust and allows for intimacy, but deep listening has to go with it. Many times we do not really listen, but are busy with our own reactions, judgments or criticism which impair our ability to hear what is being said. We can learn & practice Deep Listening.
When working in a complex environment and with unknown variables, there is also a need for a deeper quality of listening:
What has NOT been said?
What does body language tell us?
Can we sense, identify and learn from underlying patterns recognized when looking at the collective intelligence of the whole?
Heschel Activist Seminar, Israel, 2012
Deep listening is important in any participatory process, & often a workshop just on these skills will immediately improve communication.
There are many practices that help us touch upon the quality of our listening - Mindfulness and Buddhism is one, and you can read more about that here. There is also Active listening, Nonviolent communication or simpler methods like a "Talking piece", which you can read all about in The Circle Way.
Drawing from these great practices, When working with groups i try to find the elements & methods right for that group.
Attika Human Support Team Workshop, Lesvos, 2017
I like to start Deep Listening workshops with a simple piece of advice I once received: when listening, try to put aside your inner critic ("Are they right? Do I agree? Why don't I agree? This reminds me of.....") and instead actively make space within yourself for what the speaker is saying.