Practice Deep Listening in Community Conversations

Deep, intentional listening is more important than ever these days. So your Library is starting an ongoing series called Community Conversations to give you a chance to listen to and learn about others (and let others get to know you!) in a nonjudgmental space.

Community Conversations are facilitated and structured listening circles for people who want to learn and practice their listening skills. Our first conversation is at the Library on Saturday, October 16 from 2-4 p.m.

Registration is required and can be completed here.

Conversations follow the format of a traditional listening circle. Together participants set the guidelines that govern the circle and collectively choose a topic or theme they want to talk about. The themes are left broad so everyone can contribute and explore the topic in their own way.

Each person has a designated amount of time to talk and be listened to, and a participant must be holding the “talking piece” to speak.

JCPL Librarian Lisa Williams will facilitate the conversations to make sure the format is followed.

Listening circles are meant to be active, engaged conversations that elicit honesty and vulnerability in a safe space. They aren’t therapy or study groups, or a space to debate or educate others.

Lisa believes these types of conversations are essential, because deep listening builds empathy, compassion, and kindness toward others. “Listening with the intention of openness is a skill you have to strengthen with practice,” she says. “By the same token, lack of practice makes it atrophy.”

Lisa hopes that participants come away from these conversations understanding that often the most important thing you can do for someone is simply to hear them.

She says, “We forget that we don’t have to fix everything, or have the ‘right’ answer or opinion about everything that’s said to us. Very often your simple presence is a powerful gift in itself, and recognizing that fact is a pretty amazing thing.”

Click here to register for our first Community Conversation on Saturday, October 16! Please remember that masks are required inside the Library.

Contact Lisa Williams at (423) 434-4454 with questions.


Your Library offers a variety of events for adults. Click here to find out what we have coming up!

Visit jcpl.org, call (423) 434-4450, or drop by 100 West Millard Street to use your Library. Follow Johnson City Public Library on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube to receive daily updates on Library collections, services, and programs.

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