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Back in the days when I led leadership workshops in physical rooms, I would illustrate the power of transformational listening by having my leaders break out into groups of three and take five minutes each to answer the question, “What are you grateful for?”

Each person would take a turn speaking to that question while a second person listened not just with their ears but with their eyes, their smiles, their nods and, occasionally, a hand reaching out to touch the hand or shoulder of the speaker. The third person’s role was to watch the exchange and, at the end of the sharing, offer their observations on what they’d just seen and heard.

Those were always the hardest breakout sessions for me to end because over the 15 minutes, the energy and engagement would just build and build to the point where people didn’t want the conversations to stop. The laughter in the room was usually so loud that I couldn’t hear the individual conversations and amidst the smiles and good cheer, I’d regularly see a few tears of joy and gratitude being shared as well.

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