Listening Partnerships move you forward
with ease and speed.
So, What Exactly ARE Listening Partnerships?
Put simply, Listening Partnerships are a satisfying way of being together.
During a Listening Partnership, two people get together to take equal turns sharing and listening.
The foundations of a Listening Partnership are full presence, mutual respect, warmth and openness. That’s why they feel so good.
When it is your turn to share, you can choose your topic and how you want to be listened to.
When you are the listener, you give your full attention and listen in the way you have been asked to listen.
Usually a Listening Partnership lasts 60 minutes and each person shares for 25 minutes and listens for 25 minutes.
The other 10 minutes are reserved for informal conversation – 5 minutes at the beginning and 5 minutes at the end of each session.
Once two people have established a strong foundation, they can change the length and format of their time together. There is no limit on the ways to do Listening Partnerships!
Please note that some topics are not appropriate for Listening Partnerships. Those topics are listed below in “The Agreements and Expectations of The Listening Partnership Network.”
Whether your goals are professional, personal, creative or spiritual,
Listening Partnerships are a great way to:
If you feel that your certainty can be found within you,
then Listening Partnerships provide space and focus to hear yourself clearly.
If you know solitude is essential, and still sometimes
you enjoy receiving (and giving) a helping hand,
then you will appreciate your Listening Partners.
They are interested, but not invested – a rare combo!
If you find your thinking is more efficient when you talk things through
then Listening Partnerships were made for you.
In a Listening Partnership the sky’s the limit for both of you!
What do you get when you join The Listening Partnership Network?
A Warm Welcome
During your hour-long introductory interview
You talk about your availability and interests
so I can find Listening Partners who are the right fit for you.
I connect members to each other
for Listening Partnerships-
one at a time.
Unlimited Access To
Listening Partnership Gatherings
You get a list of times when you can join
a 60-minute members-only zoom meeting.
Everyone who shows up is guaranteed a Listening Partner.
The Listening Partnership Network is a Good Fit for you if:
You enjoy being in the presence of an attentive listener.
You enjoy being an attentive listener.
You appreciate the opportunity to be listened to in the way you want to be listened to.
You understand the importance of listening to others in any way they want to be listened to.
You read “The Agreements and Expectations of The Listening Partnership Network” and feel they are a good fit for you!
The Agreements and Expectations of The Listening Partnership Network
The Agreements and Expectations of The Listening Partnership Network
Every member has said yes to these
Agreements and Expectations in order to join
The Listening Partnership Network.
The 3 Agreements
1. I agree to show up for my Listening Partners within 5 minutes of our meeting time or let my Partner know I need to reschedule as far in advance as possible.
2. I agree never to interrupt my Listening Partner during their turn to share – unless the style of listening they requested includes interruptions.
3. I agree to exclude from my sharing the following topics:
Harm to self or others
Graphic descriptions of sex, violence or trauma
Anything requiring the confidentiality that a therapist or lawyer provide
Any suggestion that the listener contribute time, money or take action of any sort
Imminent danger or crisis that either the person sharing, or the person listening, could single-handedly and feasibly prevent. For example: It is ok to talk about the climate crisis or an illness. It is not ok to talk about an actively abusive relationship you are in or your suicidal thoughts.
For the Listening Partnership please have:
-A reliable phone or internet connection
-Ability to reach your Listening Partner through a second mode of communication in case the first one fails.
-Agree on how you will handle inconsistent connection quality if there is a risk of delays or gaps in the connection.
-All your devices’ notifications silenced.
-Background noise and distractions minimized.
For the person sharing:
-This is your time! You can use your time however you feel benefits you the most at the moment.
-Please let the person listening know the style of listening you would like. You can ask the listener to be silent the whole time or to listen conversationally or anywhere in between. You can ask for eye contact or ask that zoom screens be turned off.
-You can change the style of listening you want at any time!
-You can use your time to write, to read something you wrote, practice a monologue or speech or answering job interview questions, talk through a decision, meditate, introspect, clean out your closet or come up with something entirely new.
-It is totally fine to arrive at a Listening Partnership not knowing how you will use your sharing time.
-Asking yourself “What needs attention today?” is welcome.
-You can be silent as long as you would like.
-Artistic expression is welcome.
-Expressing emotions is welcome.
-Please don’t share anyone’s full name or identifying information if you talk about another person – whether the listener has a chance of knowing them or not.
-Giving the listener context about why the things you are sharing matter to you is courteous, but not required.
-It is totally fine to talk about something without explaining every aspect of it to the listener.
-Asking for what you want is encouraged. If you are curious about what the listener thinks about what you are sharing you can simply ask them for their opinion. If you feel like you want some advice, go ahead and ask for it. Take what you like and leave the rest.
-Thanking the person who just listened to you is a lovely way to end your sharing.
For the person listening:
-Just listen to the person sharing in the way they have asked to be listened to.
-You can ask clarifying questions about the style of listening they want at the beginning to make sure you understand.
-Thanking the person who just shared with you is a lovely way to end your listening.
What do people say about Listening Partnerships?
I was able to examine how I felt while organizing my thoughts. This kind of pure listening without judgement or intrusion allowed new ideas to emerge and coalesce in me — my unique ideas formed free from the more usual entanglement with the thoughts and opinions of others that often get inserted in conversational listening.
I get a sense of wholeness and cohesiveness when I am speaking to someone and I know I am being heard and seen. There is something in that which is indescribable. It’s hard to verbalize because it is an experience.
How do you join
The Listening Partnership Network?
Melina Ponak is a Professional Listener who connects people for Listening Partnerships and offers Listening Sessions.
Melina is the kind of person that friends and strangers alike feel at ease to open up to.
She wants the power of listening to be more widely understood and Listening Partnerships to become a common way of being together in a wide variety of contexts.
Her own understanding of the power of listening began in her early 20’s in Montreal during the final year of her training in medicinal herbology. In a class on therapeutic relationships she and a fellow student were assigned to listen to each other without interrupting for 10 minutes each. Those 20 minutes showed Melina a new way of being.
She hopes to bring that experience of profound listening to as many people as possible so they too can feel the freedom and caring within it.
The listening thread has woven through Melina’s professional journey. She has been a professional notetaker for students with disabilities, an in-home hospice care provider, a storyteller, a Waldorf-inspired Early Childhood Educator and an entrepreneur.
And, of course, listening is central to her friendships and her relationship with her husband/co-founder Rabbi Matthew Ponak and their two inspiring children, Orion and Sephira.
Melina is a member of the International Listening Association and co-founder of Mekorah Institute, a Spiritual Centre based online and in Victoria, British Columbia where she is very grateful to live.
What happens during a Listening Session?
You get an interested (but not invested) listener and thinking partner
who simply will not interrupt your speaking OR your silence.
You ask to be listened to in the way that serves you best.
Some examples of what people ask for during a Listening Session:
Take notes and organize thoughts
Talk things through with you
Let’s talk about designing your Listening Session!
I appreciate Melina’s ability to be completely flexible with the kind of listening offered.
It felt truly empowering to be listened to in a way that both made space for my authentic presence and actively sought to meet me in the way that felt most supportive to me and my process.
Melina is a warm, welcoming, attentive and generous listener.
She has a unique gift of inviting me into a creative relational space which feels safe and exciting for me to visit all the places which my heart, body and mind desire to explore. In Melina’s gentle and supportive presence I feel at ease and alignment with all the flavours and colors of my inner movements. I feel deeply grateful for having Melina in my life.
-Artist, Explorer, Connector