Ananda Leeke Discusses Mindful Communication at NTEN Conference (#19NTC) in March


Here’s what I said when I received the invitation to speak about mindful communication during the Activating a Culture of Resilience and Sustainable Impact session at the Nonprofit Technology Network‘s (NTEN) 2019 Conference: YESSSSSSSSSSSSS (in my best impression of Cookie Lyon of the Fox musical drama Empire). WHY? 

Three reasons.

Reason #1 – My amazing and brilliant co-presenters Beth Kanter of the Happy Healthy Nonprofit, Carrie Rice of Carrie Rice Consulting, and Meico Whitlock of Mindful Techie.


Reason #2 – The awesome NTEN attendees! What a dynamic groovy group of diverse and creative people who are so generous with their knowledge, kindness, and coolness! Special thanks to everyone who attended the Activating a Culture of Resilience and Sustainable Impact session. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and discussing mindful communication.


Reason #3 – The super fabulousness of NTEN’s conferences, food, vendors, and fun locations. Portland rocks! I was fortunate to experience the 2016 and 2018 conferences. I am looking forward to the 2020 conference in Baltimore.

Check out the podcast resources and takeaways from my mindful communication presentation below.



Mindful Communication is intentional, being present, actively listening, practicing compassion and nonjudgement, and using honest speech from the heart.

COMMUNICATION in the workplace can be a M.E.S.S. because it offers us an opportunity to:

  • Practice MINDFULNESS with ourselves first and
  • EXPRESS mindfulness in ways that
  • SUPPORT our team and
  • SERVE the mission of our organization.



Mindful Communication happens when:

  • People pay attention to each other with direct eye contact, without any distractions (like using smartphones & computers).
  • People actively listen to each other by giving one’s full attention to the speaker with kindness, compassion, and nonjudgment without reacting, thinking of ways to respond, and speaking while the speaker is talking.
  • People speak honestly, concisely, and from the heart.


Benefits of Mindful Communication

  • Reduces stress, anxiety & burnout
  • Resolves conflict
  • Strengthens team relationships
  • Increases staff confidence, performance & productivity


Tips for Mindful Communication with Teams 

  • MINDFUL INTENTION: Spend 1-3 minutes in the morning setting an intention for how you want to show up and communicate with your team.
  • MINDFUL BREAKS: Take mindful breaks during your day to slow down, be still, breathe deeply (3-5X), check-in, and re-center yourself.
  • MINDFUL PAUSE: Practice the mindful pause (10-30 second or more pause) before speaking and writing.
  • MINDFUL JOURNALING: Take some deep breaths before journaling for 3 minutes or more about what you want to communicate. Don’t censure yourself. Breathe deeply as you read what you wrote. Decide if it makes sense.

Tips for Promoting Compassionate Dialogue and Navigating Conflict

  • Start meetings with a mindful moment that allows the team to breathe deeply and sit still for 1-3 minutes.
  • Use active listening and honest and concise speech from the heart during meetings.
  • Encourage your team to have walking meetings with 1-2 others when appropriate.

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