Relational Presence

Relational presence is being attentive to how we are engaging with other people. It is the process of interacting in a way that opens possibilities with those with whom we work. It helps us shift from an "expert" position to being present and open with each other. It is remaining responsive to the moment, recognizing we can not know what will contribute to change. It avoids assuming universality and believing that something that makes sense in one context would be the same in another.

The first step to strengthen our relational presence is to practice deep listening 

  • Relational listening invites clear intent to discover something new about another person

  • Relational listening is about listening together to deepen both understanding and relationship

  • Relational listening allows new shared meanings to emerge

  • When we listen deeply, we are changed by each other. In deep listening we are both the changer and the changed

  • New insights and understandings grow from deep listening

Click here to download a handout provides further ideas on how to strengthen relational presence.


  1. Sheila McNamee, Radical Presence;  Transformative Dialogue: Coordinating Conflicting Moralities (2008). Click here to download Transformative Dialogue

  2. Samuel Mahaffy, Relational Listening -