Advanced Training and Essential Skills for Facilitators

What is a listening circle?

Listening circles are a specific type of circle designed to help people process an event or issue that poses a challenge or harm to their communities or has impacted people in a significant way. They are voluntary, community-oriented forums aimed at providing an equitable opportunity for all attendees to have voice. Listening circles can be used in a variety of settings, including communities, workplaces, schools, organizations, neighborhoods, universities, and within families. They have roots in indigenous cultures and are backed by research in interdisciplinary studies.

They are not focused on problem solving, dialogue, or debating. They are meant for creating a space for expressing, listening, processing, and community building.

Why are skilled facilitators crucial for leading listening circles?

Just like any tool that is improperly used, harm can be done. Since listening circles cover topics that may evoke strong emotion from participants, having the proper training on crafting questions, keeping participants on track, and creating spaces for people to confidently express themselves is key.

What are the benefits of listening circles?

  • Opportunities to connect and increase understanding
  • Space to process an event as a community
  • Empowering community members to build capacity for listening
  • Cultivating empathy and a shared sense of understanding
  • Building emotional connection among the participants

Learning Format

In this highly interactive online experience, you will learn the skills and important considerations to becoming a skilled listening circle facilitator. Led by two expert facilitators, the training interweaves learning, practice, and reflection and is accompanied by practical documents and tools, such as sample scripts and emails, to prepare participants.

The training will focus on a real-life issue or challenge to make the experience relevant and incorporates individual pre-work, live Zoom sessions, and threaded discussions.

  • Begin your learning with videos, readings, and reflection questions to familiarize yourself with listening circles and prepare to listen empathically. (One hour of individual pre-work preparation)
  • Experience a listening circle and explore the role of the facilitator, as well as barriers to listening, in preparation to facilitate your own circle. (4.5-hour live Zoom session, breaks included)
  • Apply your learning, ask questions, and reflect on your experience. (Participants have two weeks to implement a listening circle and engage in threaded discussions.)
  • Debrief and learn from others’ experiences so you will feel prepared to implement circles in a variety of contexts. (2.5-hour live Zoom session, breaks included)

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

    • Understand the importance of listening
    • Describe the listening circle process
    • Comprehend the fundamentals for leading effective listening circles
    • Explore how to use listening circles in their settings
    • Participants will prepare and facilitate a listening circle

This professional development learning experience is open to anyone, regardless of your prior familiarity with restorative practices.


  • The skill building and information presented in the Facilitating Listening Circles event is the same for each event. The only difference in each event is the example topic for the listening circle experience.
  • This event considers the possible use of restorative practices in cases of traumatic situations. We strongly advise facilitators to consult and prepare with the utmost care in these cases. Participants in these highly sensitive circles should be urged to establish their own emotional support system while participating in this event.

Price: $450


Upcoming Events

Please Note:

All events require pre-registration to attend. If you require a purchase order, processing can take up to ten business days. Please allow for that in your planning and event date selection. Event capacities are limited, and seats are reserved as payments are received.

Credit card payments will expedite your registration process. If you require the use of a purchase order:

  • Email your purchase order to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. along with the session dates you would like to register for.
  • Once received, a link to register for the event will be sent to you.
  • Complete the registration form. An email confirmation will be sent to you upon receipt of your form.

June 2024

Facilitating Listening Circles (Circle Topic: Increased Political Division)
June 12, 2024 - June 26, 2024
Live Zoom Sessions: June 12, 12:30-5:00 PM & June 26, 12:30–3:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Schedule a Conversation

If you would like to speak about professional development events, please contact Continuing Education Specialist.

Phone: (267) 894-6071