If you need to retune your ear to truly be listening and respond, I offer the following thoughts:
Listen deep enough to be changed: Listening is active, it’s intentional, it’s the way that we connect and relate to each other, no matter our race, creed, color, gender orientation, political or socioeconomic status. When we decide to listen deep enough to be changed, we set aside pre-judgement, pre-conceived notions, and pre-planned thoughts about what to say next. When people feel like they are authentically being heard, they open up more, they trust more, they speak their truth. Their truth is a catalyst for the hearer to be changed.
Honor the voices that you’ve heard: Honoring is holding the voices of the people in high esteem. We honor the voices by engaging in authentic conversation, by being thoughtfully curious, by opening up and sharing our stories, as well, not just our triumphs, but the things that challenged us, the hurdles that we faced and continue to face.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for Impact Philanthropy, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and Impact Philanthropy.
We honor the voices by listening without trying to solve, without trying to be the hero or be the resolution to what we hear. Meeting and accepting people right where they are, honors them.
Give the people their voices back: Whether we are listening to build relationship with a community, to conduct research, or to figure out a better way to do things, we must remember that we do not own the voices that we hear. They are on loan to us for a purpose and those who bravely offered their voices, their stories, their wisdom and their insights, have a right to get back what they’ve given. Hence, if a report is developed, share back the report. If a process is improved, share back the improvement. If a website is built, share back the website. We must be as intentional about developing and implementing strategies to close the feedback loop as we are in initially designing the process of listening. The people deserve to learn from what their collective voices have shared, even if nothing changes, so that they too can use the information to help and better inform themselves, their organizations, and their communities.
This article on listening in philanthropy is written by Kelley D. Gulley at Feedback Labs.
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