General Guidelines:


Use a stopwatch – and stick to the timing


One person speaks for 5 minutes

The speaker speaks about what s/he feels is most important, in the clearest way possible, so that the listener can hear it

The listener only listens and does not say anything during the five minutes

After the 5 minutes the listener gets 1 minute to try to say back the message as accurately as s/he can, to reflect the speaker’s message (not to add her/his own perspective), so that the speaker knows that the listener understands

If the speaker feels the listener missed something, or didn’t understand the message, the speaker can speak again for 1 minute, to try and redeliver the message

Then the listener can then try again for 1 more minute to reflect

After this, both the speaker and listener look each other in the eyes and say “thank you” and do not speak again for at least 30 minutes


The thank you from the speaker is meant as: “thank you for hearing me”

The thank you from the listener is meant as: “thank you for letting me see through your eyes”


Do not address the topics expressed in this exercise for at least one day




Your intention is to reveal yourself - to be known/understood/seen/heard – the most important question is: how can you best communicate your experience?


Try your best to focus on how you feel, as opposed to talking about the listener (especially be careful about assuming the listener’s intentions, motivations, and values)


If you feel you must talk about the listener, try to start with a statement which acknowledges that you are making assumptions – such as: “In my story, you _______” or “It seems to me that you ____________”


Don’t use your words to try to change manipulate or control the listener – this will detract from the true connection – instead you might say “I feel like I want to change you”


Stay as precise as you can – stay as close to the truth as you can – don’t exaggerate or embellish – stay away from words like “always” and “never.”




Your intention/job is to understand how the world/situation looks from the speaker’s eyes - Stay open and interested - Don’t become internally defensive - Don’t mentally argue with the way the speaker is presenting things (even if the speaker doesn’t adhere to the suggestions above) – Instead try to see as (s)he sees – It is not useful to spend energy maintaining your position or trying to be right


There is 1 thing you can say:

·       “Can you help me understand that more fully?” (this must be sincere if asked)


There are two actions you can do:

·      You can put you hand(s) on your heart

oThis means that you feel like you are really understanding what is being said

·      You can put your palms together in a prayer/bow position

oPrayer position is an action that represents your sincere attempt to open your heart – to really listen/see/meet/know