Featured Image International LIstening Association

“The most basic of human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” –Ralph Nichols, ILA Founder

This little bit of wisdom on the front page of the International Listening Association (ILA) website applies to all sorts of situations and professions—conflict resolution being one of the most obvious. Hence why it’s no surprise the Listening Associations convention theme this year is titled “Listening in Conflict.” If we cannot effectively understand and be understood, or help others do the same, then we cannot effectively mediate. To explore this theme from various angles, academics and thought leaders from all corners of the globe will be converging at Vancouver’s downtown SFU campus from March 21 to 23. A brief glance at this year’s program shows how varied the topics and sources of expertise are. Since the scope of this conference is so broad, and not all are related to mediation, we’ve decided to highlight a few key topics we think you might find interesting. Click here to receive the Mediate BC roster promo code (roster mediators only).

Thursday, March 21

Listening Swap Shop

This highly interactive workshop offers up to seven new methods for training and teaching others to improve listening skills. In it participants are shuffled from expert to expert at ten minute intervals. For those ADR professionals interested in updating their toolkit, this might provide up to seven new tools for coaching clients through listening in mediation.

Ears See the Tears: Listening Skills as the Foundation for Community Work Combining Artistic Expression with Trauma-Informed Care

This interactive workshop will demonstrate how listening can help us combine research about Adverse Childhood Experiences with theater to more effectively address the needs of individuals and communities in conflict. The premise being that “at its most powerful, listening is a full body experience.”

Friday, March 22

Managing Conflict Situations with Listening: Who Does it Best? (L)

Dr. Sanna Ala-Kortesmaa, Ph.D. offers academic insights on the personality traits, listening values, and abilities needed for effective listening.

Listening to Be an Ally in Disrupting Systems of Oppression (L)

During this interactive presentation, Dr. Cynthia Hazel, Ph.D., will review the literature on allyship and utilizing privilege to disrupt systemic inequities. As well as provide examples of how listening to her peers and students has informed her of when she was colluding with White superiority and increased her capacity to recognize and challenge oppression.

(Re-) setting Rapport: Making Space for Listening in Stress and Shame Situations (T)

This presentation by Dr. Deborah Leiter will discuss the ways to re-set rapport in situations where people feel threatened—in other ways, a situation where (di)stress or shame predominates. In such situations, people have a hard time listening well. When shame is in the mix, feelings of inadequacy make this even harder.

Stimulating Deliberative Listening When Public Issues are Divisive (W)

This workshop is intended to address divisive listening and speech that occurs in public settings regarding contentious issues. Dr. Ronald Hustedde and Dr. Rosalind Harris will explore four tools for moving away from evaluative listening, towards empathic, appreciative and comprehensive listening.

Saturday, March 23

Active Listening, Conflict Resolution and Communication: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Examining Conflicting Listening Schemas

If you want to resolve conflicts, both scientific studies; and anecdotal experience show that there is a particular skill that can make or break your efforts: active listening. This panel takes a multidisciplinary approach to exploring conflicting listening schemas created by our perceptions of difference, and it offers evidence-based approaches to bridging those barriers in a global society.

More Listening = Less Conflict: How The Listening Gap© and The Listening Challenge© Can Reduce the Intensity and Incidence of Conflict

PhD candidate Catherine Lampton introduces two tools to help lessen and turn around destructive conflict. First, The Listening Gap© is used to help you monitor and control your own thoughts and responses. Second, The Listening Challenge© is used to empower your communication and to increase your chances of being heard.

Civil Communication and Common Sense Etiquette in the Workplace

Dr. Erica J. Lamm, will explore the definitions of civility, etiquette, communication and listening, and then offer concrete steps to create a more civil workplace. Special emphasis on effective listening in an uncivil environment will be given.