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 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.

  • Online: Two non-consecutive days of live instruction via Zoom with breaks included. The first session is 4.5 hours, and the second session is 2.5 hours.
    (1 hour of pre-work required prior to the first session. Participants have two weeks to implement a listening circle and engage in threaded discussions between the first and second session.)
  • In Person: Two consecutive 8-hour days of live instruction (two breaks and time for lunch 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. Event capacities are limited, and seats are reserved as payments are received.

If you require the use of a purchase order, it must contain the following information:

  • The learner’s name
  • The name of the session they are looking to attend
  • The approved amount
  • It must list the IIRP as the recipient.
  • If it requires a signature from someone in your organization, it must be signed by the appropriate staff member.

Once you obtain the purchase order, you can visit our website and register for your desired session. You must upload a copy of the purchase order at the time of registration. If you need a quote to obtain a purchase order, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

September 2024

Facilitating Listening Circles (Circle Topic: Political Divide)
September 4, 2024 - September 18, 2024
Live Zoom Sessions: September 4, 12:30-5:00 PM & September 18, 12:30–3:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)

December 2024

Facilitating Listening Circles - Bethlehem, PA
December 9, 2024 - December 10, 2024
IIRP Campus
8:30 AM-4:30 PM (registration 8:00-8:30)

Schedule a Conversation

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

Phone: (267) 894-6071