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A Listening-Project Tool

My Community has done several listening projects.1 We have a sign, and a table with RC literature on it. (I think the table looks like we are selling something.) Sometimes people come to our table. Sometimes we walk up to people and volunteer to listen to them.

For the most part,2 this was seeming too passive to me. Shy patterns were keeping some Co-Counselors from approaching people directly. I thought, “We need to go out among the crowd and ‘capture’ people.” I designed a “coupon” to give to people that would help us connect with them, show ourselves, and invite them to our listening table.

We began approaching people and offering them the “free coupon.” It looked like this:


          Return this coupon to
   the listening table and receive
         10 minutes of listening
          as you answer one of
         the posted questions.

Passersby generally accepted the coupon. (Some found it hard to believe it was free!) I would smile and say, “Hello, please accept this coupon. There is a listening table over there. If you turn in3 the coupon, someone will listen to you about the three posted questions.” I encouraged the RCers to converse with people while passing out the coupons and to ask for their opinions on the three questions.

It was a useful tool. Some people showed up just to see if it was real and free. My highlight was making so many connections. The Co-Counselor at the listening table got to counsel a lot more people than before. Next time I will put the questions on the coupon so that people can know them in advance.

Josephine Grimes
Albany, New York, USA

1 In an RC listening project, several Co-Counselors go to a public place and offer to listen  to passersby about some important issue, such as racism or a current war. They may  hold signs that invite people to share their thinking about that issue.
2 “For the most part” means mostly.
3 In this context, “turn in” means bring to the listening table.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00