The resources on this page have been collected and curated to aid you in growing your skills of Listening. Enjoy!

Organizations and Websites

  • International Listening Association The International Listening Association (ILA) was formed in 1979. Since then, we have grown into an international community working in more than 19 countries. We are involved in listening in education, business, healthcare, hospitality, spirituality, music and many other fields. We promote the study of listening, exchange information, and pursue research into the ways in which listening can develop understanding in our personal, political, social and working lives. The International Listening Association serves as a dialogue space, a resource network, a news source and a worldwide community.
  • One Square Inch One Square Inch of Silence is very possibly the quietest place in the United States. It is an independent research project located in the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park, which is one of the most pristine, untouched, and ecologically diverse environments in the United States. If nothing is done to preserve and protect this quiet place from human noise intrusions, natural quiet may be non-existent in our world in the next 10 years….
  • The Listening “OUR MISSION IS TO ENGAGE, CHANGE, AND SAVE LIVES WITH THE PERFORMING ARTS THROUGH COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND YOUTH PROGRAMMING. There is a community where arts advocacy, social justice, and youth mentoring connect; where young people are encouraged to take notice of the world around them and engage passionately and with purpose. The Listening, Inc aspires to be that safe place, where young people are engaged to use the performing arts to ask questions, develop answers, perform with purpose and change the world around them.  With TLI, one sole question is asked: “If you had a room full of people willing to listen to you, what would you say?”
  • Oscar Trimboli | Deep Listening: Impact Beyond Words  Oscar Trimboli is an author, podcast host and keynote speaker. His work focuses on teaching people to listen deeply. His website offers resources for identifying your challenges, plans for working on them, and insights into the power and skills of deep listening.

Organizations and Resources for Promoting Civil Dialogue (mostly US-based)

  • Living Room Conversations – Healing divides starts with conversation. “It is a conversational model developed by dialogue experts in order to facilitate connection between people despite their differences, and even identify areas of common ground and shared understanding.  Within this model, we have developed nearly 100 conversation guides on all sorts of topics that can otherwise be tense to talk about with friends, strangers, and even loved ones of differing backgrounds and political persuasions. “
  • Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center “To strengthen a democratically engaged society, we seek to advance innovative practices in higher education that promote respectful, transformative dialogue on controversial topics and complex social issues, thereby reflecting a commitment to pluralism and academic freedom.”
  • Make Shift Coffee House: Home “A Make Shift Coffee House is a free online place where people with different views talk to each other with respect. Each one lasts an hour.  A small group of people with different views have a facilitated discussion while others watch.”
  • Better Conversations, A Guide from On Being “We insist on approaching civility as an adventure, not an exercise in niceness. It is a departure from ways of being and interacting that aren’t serving our age of change. This is a resource and reflection for beginning this adventure — creating new spaces for listening, conversation, and engagement. We’ve created it as producers, but more urgently as citizens.”
  • Listen First Project – Charlottesville “Distrust, fear, and contempt have poisoned our society and personal relationships. A brighter future requires understanding, trust, and grace. Listen First Project and our Coalition partners are committed to the mission of healing America, because our shared future depends on it. Inspiring hope and desire to transform division and contempt into connection and understanding. Equipping Americans with skills, opportunities, and courage to build bridges across divides. Normalizing listening to understand, extending grace, and seeking common interests.”
  • National Institute For Civil Discourse – Engaging Differences Constructively Aimed at de-polarizing American politics, NICD offers, “Engaging in conversations across the divide opens doors to finding common ground and moves our country toward a more perfect union.  Our programs convey several key principles and best practices that are critical to connecting across divides, including:  Empathy instead of vitriol; Listening for Understanding instead of hearing to overpower; and Humility instead of all-knowing.”
  • We are More in Common “More in Common’s mission is to understand the forces driving us apart, to find common ground and help to bring people together to tackle our shared challenges. We draw from groundbreaking research to test and find solutions, working with partners that have the capacity to make a real difference at scale. And we help build the larger field of efforts to strengthen democratic societies against the threats of polarization and division.”

Interesting Articles about Listening

  • HBR – Listening to People
    • In this 1957 Harvard Business Review article, listening experts Ralph G. Nichols and Leonard A. Stevens criticize the education system for overlooking the importance of listening skills, as well as suggest a few reasons for why people struggle to listen; namely that we have more mental capacity for thinking than it takes to process someone’s words. They explain how this extra mental space can be used to enhance our skill. They go on to explore emotional filters in listening and the implications for making business communication more efficient.
  • What Great Listeners Actually Do
    • This Harvard Business Review article details a study of over 3000 participants aimed at identifying excellent listening skills. They concluded that the top 5% asked insightful questions that created a dialogue, supported the speaker in feeling confident and safe, were cooperative by participating non-defensively with feedback, and offered relevant suggestions.
  • Submissive Listening, Therapeutic Listening and the Third Ear
    • The author of this article uses personal examples to illustrate the power of listening between the lines with a concept Theodore Reik named “The Third Ear.” He offers, “The Third Ear is a rich source of emotional information that can be fruitfully drawn upon in everyday relationships. The next time you are confused or concerned by an interaction, don’t respond immediately. Take a momentary pause, and try listening to your inner feelings. You may find that doing so is initially uncomfortable. Awkward memories, unexpected emotions, or strange associations may emerge. However, when patiently pursued, these unbidden inner experiences can awaken a deep understanding and make relationships freer and fuller.”
  • You Are Either Listening Or You’re Not | The On Being Project – The On Being Project
    • Andrew Forsthoefel, an author who walked across America to listen to peoples’ stories, writes for On Being about his experience learning to listen. He defines listening as, “a commitment to exploring and building connection with others based on our shared humanity even when that kind of connection seems impossible.” He offers wisdom such as, “Listening, at times, seems to contradict everything I learned in school. It’s about forgetting yourself for a moment, letting go of your agendas, abandoning the need to prove anything or dominate the conversation or convert someone to your cause by showing them how wrong they are. It is, instead, simply — and challengingly — about witnessing someone.”
  • The Skill of Active Listening
    • In this incredibly thoughtful and thorough guide from The Center for Parenting Education, you will be walked through the skill of active listening in a meaningful way that gives active listening more depth and consideration than is typically explained. Framed for using with children, it is useful in any interactions. They explain the value of acceptance, practice, and attitude. Explicit examples are offered and filters for listening are described in detail (such as emotional or content oriented).
  • 6 Ways To Become A Better Listener – Fast Company
    • A short exposition offering six actionable pieces of advice; Listen to learn instead of to be polite, quiet your agenda, ask more questions, pay attention to the ratio of your talking to listening, repeat back what you’ve heard, and wait until someone is really done before you respond.
  • Work Life 6 reasons why you’re a bad listener (and how to change it)
    • This article from Fast Company offers that we’re all bad listeners because we want to talk, we’re judging others, we have biases, our egos get in the way, we’re often multitasking, and we shut people out when we disagree with them.
  • Now Hear This! Most People Stink at Listening [Excerpt]
    • In this excerpt from the book, “The Plateau Effect,”  featured on Scientific American, authors Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson discuss a study they did at Carnegie Mellon on digital distractions. Their research indicates that the mere presence of a cell phone reduces listening quality!
  • The Digital Age The Digital Age: The First Duty of Love is to Listen 
    • A quick advice article from the Gottman Institute, this article gives a handful of powerful pointers for improving your listening skills, things like, “focus on being interested, not interesting,” and, “let go of your agenda,” to name a few!
  • The Psychological Reasons You Shouldn’t Give Advice to Anyone
    • Ever wonder why folks sometimes advise you not to give advice? Well, this article goes into just the right amount of detail to explain why not (namely that giving advice is about you and not them) and offers some alternatives (like listening!).
  • How Deep Listening Can Make You More Persuasive
    • An article from Greater Good Science Center, this piece explains how trying to convince someone of your position is not as effective as listening to them and trying to understand them.
  • Why Is It So Hard to Change People’s Minds?
    • Another GGSC piece addressing political intolerance and polarization, this one goes into further detail on how to ‘bridge’ understanding between dissonant views by genuinely listening to other people.
  • People Literally Don’t Know When to Shut Up—or Keep Talking—Science Confirms
    • An interesting article from Scientific American discussing research that schows most people aren’t sure how to navigate conversational transitions or endings. IThe sentiment encourages us to be more vocal about our intentions and needs with others.
  • Listening To People Who We Think Are Wrong In this article from the president of the Hewlett Foundation (one of the largest philanthropies in the United States), Larry Kramer explains the rise of ‘tribalism’ in the modern landscape of America. He defines tribalism in contrast to ‘polarization,’ distinguishing it as involving more animosity. He offers that instead of listening to fully understand people with different views from us, we instead do one or a combination of three different things:
    • Act as if the weakest argument for their position is the one everyone has and dismiss the position.
    • Assume the other position has bad motives and they know intrinsically that they’re wrong.
    • Dismiss someone’s position based on a group they identify with.
  • On the Art of Conversation
    • An insightful article from The School of Life discussing the nature of conversation. It offers that conversations are either to confirm or clarify, that they suffer when we choose not to be vulnerable, and ultimately admonishes us to, “be braver and more demanding about the conversations we fall into.”
  • How Deep Listening Can Make You More Persuasive: You’re more likely to change an opponent’s mind when you ask questions, listen sincerely, and tell stories. This article from Greater Good Berkeley delves into how effective listening can be used to persuade people to change their minds.
    • Feeling heard and understood by someone makes people more open to hearing or considering other perspectives.
    • When people feel defensive they resist different or opposing views.
    • A technique called Deep Canvassing that involves asking sensitive questions, listening to the answers with sincere interest, and then asking more questions was shown in a study to reduce transphobia.


*** = Absolutely Recommended
**= Highly Recommended
* = Recommended
No star indicates Additional Resources

  • ***You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy
    • Stuffed with examples, humor, and supported by research in psychology, neuroscience, and sociology, this book covers the challenges and possibilities of listening from a modern lens.
  • ***Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston
    • While it frames listening as a persuasion technique, this book is filled with actionable advice you can use to improve your listening skills. Goulston emphasizes the value of regulating your emotions to improve cognitive function while listening, offers a guide to empathizing, and assures you that you cannot “fake” listening!
  • ***The Lost Art of Listening, Second Edition: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships by Michael P. Nichols
    • One of the most comprehensive books we reviewed for this section. Lost Art argues that listening is valuable to relationships because it helps shape our identity by empowering our agency and acknowledging our narratives. Nichols offers that better listening comes from sincere interest and empathy. The book offers insight into types of listeners, scientific reasons for our biases and challenges, why it’s tough to listen to some folks, and so much more.
  • ***Ask Powerful Questions by Will Wise
    • Will Wise guides readers (and in-person audiences) to examine their conversational tendencies and seek more depth and vulnerability. Wise outlines what makes a powerful, connecting question and what makes a question that is essentially a dead end. An indispensable resource for crafting your ability to connect and support those you listen to.
  • **The Art of Listening by Erich Fromm
    • A philosophical romp through the experience of listening as a therapist. Fromm, in all his wisdom, offers insight into how one can shift their perspective to enable deeper understanding of other people.
  • **Walking to Listen Andrew Forsthoefel
    • Forsthoefel walked 4000 miles across the US purely to listen to people’s stories. This book is an account of his adventures and the insights he gained. Among them, he realized his initial agenda to listen was about himself, and in order to serve others he had to let that go.
  • **Listen Like You Mean it by Ximena Vengochea
    • Vengochea works as a product researcher and has picked up ageless wisdom through her interview practices. In this book she helps readers place themselves and understand why its hard to connect. One of her most compelling offerings is her mapping out of “default listening styles;” our automatic modes that may interfere with our depth of understanding.
  • *I Think You’re Wrong But I’m Listening by Sarah Stwart Holland & Beth Silvers
    • The authors of this book bonded when they began dialoguing over a podcast about their very different political views. Using compassionate dialogue to gain understanding of others as a jumping off point, the two of them put this book together as “a guide to grace-filled political conversations.” The techniques they offer have a far broader application, as they can be used in any conversation. They emphasize letting go of control and committing to strengthening your relationships when you enter tense conversations.
  • How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
    • Framed as a guide for families to navigate arguments and respond to emotions but useful to anyone, this book covers fundamental techniques in listening that focus on openness, curiosity, and understanding.
  • The Listening Path by Julia Cameron
    • Creative guide and author Julia Cameron offers this book similar to her best-seller, “The Artist’s Way.” She offers personal stories followed by journalistic self-reflection prompts to help you gain insight into your listening practice.

Children’s Books

  • The Sound of Silence by Julia Kuo
    • “Do you have a favorite sound?” little Yoshio asks. The musician answers, “The most beautiful sound is the sound of ma, of silence.”
      But Yoshio lives in Tokyo, Japan: a giant, noisy, busy city. He hears shoes squishing through puddles, trains whooshing, cars beeping, and families laughing. Tokyo is like a symphony hall! Where is silence? Join Yoshio on his journey through the hustle and bustle of the city to find the most beautiful sound of all.
  • The Rabbit Listened by Cory Doerrfeld
    • “When something sad happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to act, and one by one they fail to offer comfort. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen . . . which is just what Taylor needs.  With its spare, poignant text and irresistibly sweet illustration, The Rabbit Listened is about how to comfort and heal the people in your life, by taking the time to carefully, lovingly, gently listen.”


Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation (11.5 minutes)
In this powerful TED Talk radio host Celeste Headlee offers 10 ways to have a better conversation. “Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. ‘Go out, talk to people, listen to people,’ she says. ‘And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.’”

5 ways to listen better | Julian Treasure (8 minutes)
TED Talk. Julian Treasure advocates for conscious listening to be taught in schools, explaining that it can lead to peace and understanding. He shares 5 ways to listen better: prioritizing silence, listen for different channels of noise, savor sounds, shift your “listening position,” and RASA: “Receive, Appreciation, Summarise, and Ask.”

How To Be A Good Listener (7.5 minutes)
Another School of Life video that goes into depth on what it means to “listen like an editor” by asking questions that help a speaker focus on the universal dimensions of their stories. Help them keep from digressing and emphasize on the emotional elements of a message.

Jon Kabat-Zinn: Listening is an Act of Love (7 minutes)
Jon Kabat Zinn explains mindfulness practice and nonattachment as an avenue to diminishing suffering. Halfway through this message he explains that listening is a mindfulness practice centered on compassion and not themselves. Listening is “being.”

The Art Of Asking Questions | Dan Moulthrop | TEDxSHHS (17 minutes)
Dan Moulthrop explains how asking a good question is about executing genuine curiosity. He encourages us to be unafraid to ask questions, be curious, ask the obvious questions, choose your words carefully, be empathetic, stay informed, be simple, and be gracious.

How to Have a Good Conversation (6 minutes)
The School of Life presents this video on the nature of conversation. “We too often imagine that ‘good conversations’ are things we fall into out of luck. Far from it, knowing how to have a good conversation is a skill that can be learned – and here are the beginning of the rules.” They encourage us to talk about how we feel and what experiences mean to us, act like an editor and ask questions that focus on emotional content.

The power of listening | William Ury | TEDxSanDiego (15.5 minutes)
Ury, a diplomatic negotiator, explains the power of listening in helping us understand, connect, and make it more likely the other person will be willing to listen to us in return. He advocates for us to listen to underlying feelings, needs, and wants beyond the words people are using. Ury explains that we have to listen to ourselves first before we can listen to others effectively.

Self-Regulation Skills: Why They Are Fundamental (2.5 minutes)
In this video, The Committee for Children explains four types of regulation skills: Flexible Attention (managing your attention), Working Memory (managing your thoughts), Inhibitory Control (managing your behavior), and managing your emotions. They offer that regulation skills lead to more achievement, social competence, and continued emotional growth.

More Videos on Listening

  • Brené Brown on Empathy Here research professor and author Brene Brown explains Sympathy in a Cognitively Empathic manner. Sympathy becomes a judgment of another person’s experience in which their experience gets minimized and/or invalidated.
  • U Theory Levels of Listening  U Theory from Otto Scharmer, a lecturer at MIT and founder of the Presencing Institute, breaks listening styles down into four unique levels.
    • 1:15-3:15 Level One: “Downloading,” which is listening from what you already know and results in confirming your opinions and judgments.
    • 3:15-5:00 Level Two: “Factual,” which happens with an open mind and results in you noticing things different or new from what you already know or believe.
    • 5:20-6:25 Level Three: “Empathic,” which arises from an emotional connection and results in listening from outside of yourself or from the other person’s experience.
    • 6:25-8:25 Level Four: “Generative,” which is listening from a place of future possibility and connects to things that could become.
  • The Power of Deliberate LIstening | Ronnie Polaneczky | TEDxPhiladelphia “When an angry reader began cursing her out over the phone, newspaper columnist Ronnie Polaneczky had an epiphany: Magic happens when we set aside our judgments and just listen, even when we are certain that person is wrong and we are right.”
    • 00:00-05:00 Ronnie tells the story of the event that transformed her listening. Her story is an excellent example of how to approach listening from a perspective that opens you up emotionally and mentally to connection.
    • 05:30-09:30 Ronnie explains the positive shift that happens when we give up being Right in our conversations.
    • 15:35-17:00 She offers her guidelines for listening deliberately: Listen with compassion, without judgment, and with an open heart.
  • How to Master Your Emotions | Emotional Intelligence While this video is titled, “How to Master Your Emotions,” it employs perspective shifting to achieve its aim. The narrator walks you through an example of two men brought up in different environments who have a different perspective of the same situation. Their perspective influences the action they take. The video advocates for developing the ability to perceive many possible realities as a means to mastering your emotions. Being able to perceive many possible realities also empowers us to be more compassionate and curious!
  • How to speak so that people want to listen | Julian Treasure Businessman and speaker Julian Treasure talks about habits we have while speaking that make others not want to listen to us, like gossiping, exaggerating, and judging. He advocates for expressing ourselves according to the acronym HAIL: Honesty, Authenticity, Integrity, and Love.
  • Six Ways to Be a Better Listener Greater Good Science Center presents this short 1.25-minute video with 6 steps for better listening: avoid giving advice, avoid judgment, paraphrase, ask questions, offer empathy, and stay engaged.

Parody Videos

It’s Not About The Nail (1.5 minutes)
This parody short highlights a common challenge we experience in conversations when we offer advice to someone who really wants empathy.

The Guy Who Listens By Interrupting You (2 minutes)
This video features an example of someone who is so concerned with showing that they’re listening that they cannot actually listen.

  • Kyle Cease   How Enlightened Families Argue (2.5 minutes) A hilarious short about an insightful family that is brutally honest. This is an example of what it would be like if we directly communicated the meaning and emotions that are behind the words we use.
  • Big Bang Theory: “Active Listening” (1.5 minutes) In this clip from the tv show “Big Bang Theory,” one character is so focused on his narrative that he misses how he is impacting his listener.
  • This Simpsons clip shows Homer’s confusion with the difference between what is said and what is meant by his wife Marge.

In the News

  • Why I, as a black man, attend KKK rallies. | Daryl Davis | TEDxNaperville (18.5 minutes) Daryl Davis is a black musician whose curiosity about the outrageousness of racism led him to begin attending KKK rallies. He wanted to understand how people could hold racist beliefs about another group of people when he saw it as completely absurd. By listening deeply to Klansmen in an effort to really understand how they formed their views, he eventually developed friendships. Throughout this journey of listening Daryl has influenced over 200 Klansmen to give up their robes through creating compassionate relationships.
  • Blind Man Uses Echolocation | Extraordinary Animals | BBC Earth  Completely blind, Daniel Kish taught himself to master listening to his environment to the extent that he has developed the skill of echolocation!  It is truly amazing how much information he can gather from his environment simply by paying attention to the movement of sound waves. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.


On The Nature of Listening and Conversation

  • Five Levels of Listening A series of podcasts from Oscar Trimboli on the five levels of what he calls Deep Listening. He offers an episode to discuss each one: Listening to yourself, the content, the context, the unsaid, and the meaning of a message.
  • What Improv Can Teach Leaders About Listening This 6 minute excerpt explains how Improvisational Theatre philosophy can teach you how to listen.  Because, “Improv is being in a pattern of responsiveness with someone else,” it requires us to collaborate with others. In practicing improv you see very quickly how difficult it is to be present and not get distracted by your own agenda. He adds that, “Listening is willing to be changed by your scene partner.”
  • Being Well Podcast: Connecting with Others: How to Attune (1 hour, 6 minutes) Psychologist Rick Hanson and his son Forrest explore the art of attunement when connecting to and trying to understand others. “What is attunement? Which of your relationships fill you up? During this time of increased isolation our needs for connection are harder to meet than ever. Today, Rick and Forrest are exploring how we can use the psychological technique of “attunement” to connect better with others, and meet our own need for connection.” Highly recommended!
  • The Art and Science of Listening | Kate Murphy (1 hour, 8 minutes) The Good Life Project interviews Kate Murphy, NYT contributor and author of, “You’re Not Listening.” “Her book, You’re Not Listening is equal parts cultural observation, scientific exploration, and a rousing call to action that’s full of practical advice. Murphy explains why we’re not listening, what it’s doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing us to some of the best listeners out there (including a CIA agent, focus group moderator, bartender, radio producer, and top furniture salesman). It’s time to stop talking and start listening.”
  • ‎Small Things Often on Apple Podcasts Small Things Often is a podcast series of 5-minute excerpts from relationship experts the Gottmans. They provide simple, proven, quick tips to help you deepen and enhance your relationships, often having to do with how you listen to each other!


  • Episode 18: Listen Like It’s Your First Date (30 minutes) The Science of Happiness Podcast challenges guests to use a happiness skill during their episode and then explore why it works. In this episode, a guest practices active listening and discovers empathy and deep connection.
  • Episode 58: What Does It Take to Really Listen to…  (17 minutes) Another Science of Happiness episode in which the guest chooses Active Listening as their practice. The guest focuses on the healing power of making someone feel understood.
  • About Us – Encountering Silence “Encountering Silence explores the beauty and importance of silence from many angles, not just the religious/spiritual/mystical, but also reflecting on the psychology of silence, silence and the arts, silence and politics, silence and education… the list goes on.”
  • Civil Conversations & Social Healing | The On Being Project – The On Being Project The Civil Conversations Project is an archive of conversations (and resources !) for transforming humanity through our relationships. “The Civil Conversations and Social Healing team represents The On Being Project’s presence in the world as we nourish, embolden, and accompany the work of social healing. Our organizational capacities to produce audio and digital resources are strengthened by programs and convenings that stitch relationships across rupture and equip for resilience and repair.”
  • David Isay — Listening as an Act of Love | The On Being Project – The On Being Project (50 minutes) This interview with the founder of StoryCorps David Isay is an enchanting romp through the power of listening to one another’s stories. Isay “shares his wisdom about listening as an act of love, and how eliciting and capturing our stories is a way of insisting that every life matters.”
  • Mary Oliver — Listening to the World | The On Being Project – The On Being Project (50 minutes) Poet Mary Oliver considered listening a sacred practice. This conversation with her offers insight into a life of romantically listening to the world and your own heart.
  • Gordon Hempton — Silence and the Presence of Everything | The On Being Project – The On Being Project (50 minutes) Gordon Hempton is an acoustic ecologist who collects sounds internationally. This conversation explores his experience of sound and listening to silence.  On Being remarks, “An attentive listener, he says silence is an endangered species on the verge of extinction. He defines real quiet as presence — not an absence of sound but an absence of noise.”
  • STRANGERS “From Lea Thau, Peabody award-winning producer and former Director of The Moth, comes the storytelling podcast Strangers. Strangers is hosted and produced by Lea Thau, with music and mixing by Paul Dreux Smith. Each episode is an empathy shot in your arm, featuring true stories about the people we meet, the connections we make, the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindnesses we encounter, and those frightful moments when we discover that WE aren’t even who we thought we were.”


In Pursuit of Silence  “is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound and the impact of noise on our lives. Beginning with an ode to John Cage’s ground-breaking composition 4’33”, In Pursuit of Silence takes us on an immersive cinematic journey around the globe– from a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, to the streets of the loudest city on the planet, Mumbai during the wild festival season – and inspires us to experience silence and celebrate the wonders of our world.”

Listen “Listen tells the story of what happens when we don’t pay attention. It’s about all of us and how we impact each other. Created in response to the unsettling epidemic that’s killing many of us, this film is an alarm to face the truth that how you listen defines what happens to you and those you love.” This movie takes place in a high school setting and follows the turbulent lives of a group of teenagers as they navigate the harsh realities of their lives, culminating in a potential school shooting.

Games, Etc.

  • Grok-The-World: GROK The World “We make beautifully designed products that invite deep and authentic conversations…as well as playful and engaging interactions.”
  • Sparked  A conversational card game. From their website: “We created SPARKED to bring people together to connect, celebrate and uplift each other. From boardrooms to women’s conferences, yoga retreats to special occasions, SPARKED is perfect for any occasion. No matter how many times you play or who you play SPARKED with, it’s always memorable. The game leads to passion-filled conversations and amazing connections.”
  • 100 Questions from The School of Life
    • A set of 100 question cards to spark meaningful conversations around love, life, culture and family.
      It isn’t easy to get into a good conversation. Many of our best ones seem to have happened by chance. Far from it – we believe a great conversation always starts with someone asking a great question.
      In this set of beautiful cards, you’ll find laid out 100 of the very best questions around, carefully designed to get a group of people into exceptionally entertaining and meaningful conversations.
      Split into categories, these 100 questions cover:
    • Personality & Emotions
    • Work & Money
    • Family & Friendship
    • Travel, Culture & Taste
    • Personality & EmotionSex & Relationships
    • Life & Death
  • Conversation Menus from The School of Life
    • “20 Menus with 12 questions per menu, across varying themes – to foster friendship and bring meals to life.
      We typically spend a lot of time getting the food right when we invite others over for a meal, but in the end what makes a really great occasion is – of course – always the conversation around the table.
      Typically, we stumble on fascinating conversation topics a little bit by chance. Shyness can hold us back. Too often, we revert to polite, but not especially inspired, staples. Arranged to accompany each course, these twenty beautifully designed Conversation Menus lead us artfully to some of the most fascinating and revealing conversation topics.
      They invite us to open up about themes such as love, money, travel ambition, self-knowledge and the meaning of life. They contain questions and invitations to discussion that will raise smiles, build friendships and foster the best kind of intimacy, ensuring that our meals together can be everything we hoped.”
  • The Emotional Barometer from The School of Life
    • “A Tool to Explain Our Moods. It can be remarkably hard to tell other people how we really feel; it may even be tricky for us to get clear about our own moods. Mostly, if people ask how we are, we’ll just say, ‘Fine’ – knowing that we’ve provided only a sharp abbreviation of what is actually going on in our minds.
      This is a tool to help us overcome our vagueness: cards that offer definitions of twenty moods that we can all recognize but that can be hard to pin down and explain. Here are descriptions of – among many other things – the sense of feeling weepy, nostalgic, anxious, and dreamy.
      These cards help us reach a clearer understanding of our inner emotional weather. They can also be passed on to friends and colleagues (or simply displayed on our desk) so that the world can better know what’s going on inside us, without our needing to explain too much.”
  • The Collaboration Card Set from The School of Life
    • “52 exercises to foster diplomacy, empathy, and effective communication within teams.
      The effectiveness of any organization or business comes down to how skilled everyone is at collaborating: how well we’re able to explain ourselves, listen to others, and approach challenges in a spirit of goodwill and pragmatism.
      Luckily, we don’t have to be born with collaborative skills; they can be taught, mastered, and regularly rehearsed. With the right tools to hand, we can harmonize diverse backgrounds and thinking styles and end up working fruitfully with people of very different personalities.
      Collaboration is a tool for helping people work together better: 52 exercises designed to build empathy, insight, and trust between colleagues. Intended to transform the atmosphere in teams, it prompts people to participate in a range of tasks and thinking exercises that strengthen their ability to cooperate and lend them insight into how others’ minds work. In a playful and often entertaining way, this toolkit aims to achieve something critical: the creation of a team that can work seamlessly and imaginatively together.”


  • StoryCorps is an American-based project that records interviews between friends and family to share intimate stories. “Our mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.”
  • The Listening Project  From BBC Radio and inspired by StoryCorps. “Since 2012 we have been collecting intimate conversations between friends or relatives, to build a unique picture of our lives today. We have collected over a thousand so far, and most will be broadcast across BBC radio, while all are archived by the British Library, preserving them for future generations.”
  • Shared_Studios is an initiative that seeks to connect people across the globe in meaningful and eye-opening conversations. Interested parties can contact them with their vision or needs and Shared Studios will set up a conversation with someone in their massive network to facilitate the connection! “We amplify inspiring voices and bring together diverse perspectives for transformative conversations that challenge participants to see and engage the world differently. We combine art and technology to foster human connection and unlock the potential in each of us.  And we’re building a global community to celebrate ingenuity and spark meaningful collaboration around the world.”
  • The Skin Deep “We are an award-winning creative shop that utilizes digital technology to augment, explore, and illuminate human connection.” A video channel that showcases individuals in a variety of relationships having a conversation.

External Assessments

***Check out our Assessment Center HERE. Listening is just one of 50+ factors in the Assessment Center, and with 12 subfactors measured, our Listening Assessment is the most comprehensive one you’ll find.

Courses and Guides

  • Bridging Differences Playbook was created by the Greater Good Science Center to facilitate powerful conversations in civil discourse. “Drawing on cutting-edge research and insights from trailblazing programs, our Bridging Differences initiative is highlighting the key skills and strategies for overcoming divides.” The guide offers skills you can practice within yourself, between yourself and others, and amongst groups.
  • Gottman Connect The Gottman Institute is renowned for its expertise in navigating the challenges of being in  relationship. This course focuses on feeling seen and heard and offers that you will learn the following:
    • How to identify and share your truth
    • About what we call Bids for Connection, and the three ways you can respond to them.
    • How to Turn Towards your partner to make your relationship successful.
    • A concept of an Emotional Bank Account and positive emotions, and how to increase the balance in your Emotional Bank Account
    • How to identify and express your needs in the relationship
    • How to be a great listener
    • How to have a stress-reducing conversation
  • Active Listening – Effective Communication Hosted on Coursera, this course is taught by award-winning Wharton professor and best-selling author Maurice Schweitzer. They pitch that you can learn “how to discover if someone is lying (and how to react if they are), how to develop trust, the best method of communication for negotiation, and how to apologize. You’ll also learn when to cooperate and when to compete, how to create persuasive messages, ask thoughtful questions, engage in active listening, and choose the right medium (face-to-face conversation, video conference, phone call, or email) for your messages. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to understand what others want, respond strategically to their wants and needs, craft convincing and clear messages, and develop the critical communication skills you need to get ahead in business and in life.”
  • Conscious Listening from Udemy, this course on conscious listening seeks to teach the following:
    • Bring confidence and control to your communication
    • Become present and aware in social situations
    • Learn how your listening dictates your reality and how you can use listening to alter your experience of the world
    • Create stronger connections with other people and to the world around you
    • Improve your relationships
    • Understand the impact of sound and listening on your health and wellbeing
    • Master the three types of listening
    • Improve your understanding and appreciation
    • Learn how we are losing our listening, and how it can be restored
    • Learn how to listen with compassion


  • Question Roulette: Communication Skills App – Apps on Google Play
    • “Question Roulette prompts you with a tough question or objection, on topics including general business, relationship, life purpose, party banter, and many other situations that require strong communication skills.
      • Record your response, listen back to what you said, and read the transcript of your answer.
      • Get immediate feedback about your time speaking, use of filler language, and pace of speech.
      • Save your best recordings, rate how you did with self-assessments, and track your improvement.
      • Share your best responses and get feedback from your colleagues or teammates on your speech skills.”
  • Focus@Will: Scientifically optimized music to help you focus
    • Need support with focus? This app helps you find audio that has been proven to help you do so! Tap into the benefits of listening to sound.
  • Therapeutic Listening – Apps on Google Play
    • “Therapeutic Listening is an evidence-based auditory intervention intended to support individuals who experience challenges with sensory processing dysfunction, listening, attention, and communication.”
  • Relish – Relationship Coaching & Couples Self-Care – Apps on Google Play
    • “Build a stronger connection, improved communication and more intimacy in your marriage or relationship in just 5 minutes a day with Relish, the #1 Relationship Coaching & Self Care app.
      • * Take our psychology-based relationship evaluation tool
      • * Get hyper-customized lessons, interactive quizzes
      • * The option to access 1-on-1 coaching with a qualified relationship coach
      • * Includes fun date-night ideas based on your love languages
    • All our lessons are based on scientific approaches to relationships such as CBT, EFT, positive psychology, Gottman and more.”
  • HearMe | Empathy Not Therapy – Apps on Google Play
    • “We’ll connect you with a Listener in a minute or less for unlimited chats that are 100% confidential.  Share what’s on your mind in a safe space where you will be celebrated for who you authentically are. You will be connected with a Listener who understands what you’re going through, whether it’s work stress, discrimination, relationship problems LGBTQ+ and identity, or just want to chat. Feel more at peace with yourself. Gain clarity, improve relationships and develop an understanding of your own emotions.”

Infographics and Comics

*Click for full infographic*

*Click for full infographic*


On Listening Generally

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill

“Genuine listening means suspending memory, desire, and judgment- and, for a few moments at least, existing for the other person.” – Michael P. Nichols “The Lost Art of Listening”

“Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self.” – Dean Jackson

“Listening, at times, seems to contradict everything I learned in school. It’s about forgetting yourself for a moment, letting go of your agendas, abandoning the need to prove anything or dominate the conversation or convert someone to your cause by showing them how wrong they are. It is, instead, simply — and challengingly — about witnessing someone.”  –Andrew Forsthoefel, author of “Living to Listen”

“It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Writer and Physician

“The chronic kicker, even the most violent critic, will frequently soften and be subdued in the presence of a patient, sympathetic listener— a listener who will be silent while the irate fault-finder dilates like a king cobra and spews the poison out of his system.” – Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)

“If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.” – Mark Twain

“The receptive listener allows us to express what we think and feel. Being heard and acknowledged helps us clarify both the thoughts and the feelings, in the process firming our sense of ourselves” – Michael P. Nichols

“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen.  Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.” – Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen

A reporter once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers. She replied, “I listen”. The reporter then asked, “Well then, what does God say?” Mother Teresa answered with a smile, “God listens.”

“No one is as deaf as the man who will not listen.” – Proverb

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – Bryant H. McGill

“The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent.” – Alfred Brendel

“Listening is about being present, not just about being quiet.” – Krista Tippett

“The earth has music for those who listen.” – William Shakespeare

“Listen thrice. Think twice. Speak once.” – Anonymous

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” – Peter Drucker

“Generous Listening: Listening is an everyday art and virtue, but it’s an art we have lost and must learn anew. Listening is more than being quiet while others have their say. It is about presence as much as receiving; it is about connection more than observing. Real listening is powered by curiosity. It involves vulnerability — a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity. It is never in “gotcha” mode. The generous listener wants to understand the humanity behind the words of the other and patiently summons one’s own best self and one’s own most generous words and questions.” – From On Being Virtues

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” – Franz Kafka

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

On Conversation

“Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don’t just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn’t just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards… It’s like a spark that two minds create.” – Theodore Zeldin, Oxford Scholar

“The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation. I find the use of it more sweet than of any other action in life; and for that reason it is that, if I were now compelled to choose, I should sooner, I think, consent to lose my sight than my hearing and speech.” – Michel de Montaigne, Of the Art of Conversation

On Listening to Yourself

“When we think of listening, we think of focusing on others in order to hear them. But the more I learned about it, the more apparent it became that so much of effective listening is actually being aware of yourself: your own tendencies, habitual responses, what your body language may be communicating to others, the topics that hit on a tender spot and draw out an emotional response from you, even the environments, company, or time of day that can make your listening powers stronger or weaker.”  – Ximena Vengoechea, Author of “Listen Like You Mean It”

“Using the tool of listening does not mean we stop listening to ourselves. The listening path is not masochistic; rather it is realistic, built on the accurate appraisal of where and with whom we can experience reciprocity.” – Julia Cameron, “The Listening Path”

“Sometimes I start to lose myself in their story. As soon as I notice feeling unmoored, I try to pull myself back into my body, like returning home. As Hannah Arendt says, ‘One trains one’s imagination to go visiting.’ When the story is done, we must return to our skin, our own worldview, and notice how we have been changed by our visit.” – Documentary filmmaker Valarie Kaur

Self-Care and Vulnerability While Listening

“Deep listening is an act of surrender. We risk being changed by what we hear.
When I really want to hear another person’s story, I try to leave my preconceptions at the door and draw close to their telling. I am always partially listening to the thoughts in my own head when others are speaking, so I consciously quiet my thoughts and begin to listen with my senses.
Empathy is cognitive and emotional—to inhabit another person’s view of the world is to feel the world with them. But I also know that it’s okay if I don’t feel very much for them at all. I just need to feel safe enough to stay curious.”  Documentary filmmaker Valarie Kaur

“…Candor and transparency are the unshakeable foundation for true safety.” – Jim Dethmer Conscious Leadership Co-Founder

“Listening is being able to be changed by the other person.” – Alan Alda

On Curiosity or Lack Thereof

“The faculty to think objectively is reason; the emotional attitude behind reason is that of humility. To be objective, to use one’s reason, is possible only if one has achieved an attitude of humility, if one has emerged from the dreams of omniscience and omnipotence which one has as a child. Love, being dependent on the relative absence of narcissism, requires the development of humility, objectivity and reason.
I must try to see the difference between my picture of a person and his behavior, as it is narcissistically distorted, and the person’s reality as it exists regardless of my interests, needs and fears.” – Erich Fromm, The Art of Listening

“Everyone is entitled to my opinion.” – David Brinkley

“Ideological certainty easily degenerates into an insistance upon ignorance.” – Daniel Moynihan

“The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it.” – Terry Pratchett

“Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

“Win the Battle, Lose the War.” – Timeless Wisdom

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi

“For the most part people are not curious except about themselves.” ― John Steinbeck

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people full of doubts.” –Bertrand Russell, British Polymath

“Truth springs from arguments amongst friends.” – David Hume

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” – Voltaire

“When we tell and listen to stories, we can almost feel our souls breathing fully and deeply. Our capacity to see options, to visualize possibilities, to imagine, expands and we are somehow more alive.” – Michael Parent

“When you are really struggling with someone, and it’s someone you’re supposed to hate because of ideology or belief, move in. Get curious. Get closer. Ask questions. Try to connect. Find something. Remind yourself of that spiritual belief of inextricable connection: How am I connected to you in a way that is bigger and more primal than our politics?” -Brene Brown

On Advice

“…I respect your sincerity in asking my advice. I ask you though, in listening to what I say, to remember that all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it. What is truth to one may be disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.”  – Hunter S Thompson, in a letter to a friend

On Listening Challenges

“Out of all the addictions in the world, Attention is slowly but surely becoming one of the most dangerous.” – Saahil Prem

“You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” – M. Scott Peck

“There is no moral imperative to be an attuned listener to everyone who walks down the street, but it is good to have the skills to have them to offer when you want to offer them.” – Forrest Hanson

“It is a mental discipline that calls for self-conscious effort, but that anyone can adopt. I say self-conscious, because attending dispassionately to ideas we abhor is neither easy nor natural. It requires discipline and self-honesty: an exercise of mental muscles that, like any muscle, need regular use to stay fit and strong.” – Larry Kramer on Empathic Listening.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

“It can be stated, with practically no qualification, that people in general do not know how to listen. They have ears that hear very well, but seldom have they acquired the necessary aural skills which would allow those ears to be used effectively for what is called listening.” – Listening Researcher Ralph Nichols, Harvard Business Review 1957

“There is no reason to learn how to show you’re paying attention if you are in fact paying attention.” – Celeste Headlee, Broadcaster

“Better listening doesn’t start with a set of techniques. It starts with making a sincere effort to pay attention to what’s going on in the other person’s private experience.”  – Dr. Michael Nichols, The Lost Art of Listening

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” – Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)”

“The use, or misuse, of this spare thinking time holds the answer to how well a person can concentrate on the spoken word.” – Ralph Nichols for HBR 1957

“You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” – M. Scott Peck

Listening as Love and Compassion

“We are to give (and take) true love without falling into the narcissistic habit of only trying to take it in.” – Criss Jami

“The first duty of love is to listen.” – Paul Tillich, German Philosopher

Listening is an act of love. Giving time is an act of deep caring. Giving time means pausing, and allowing the silence to hold emerging thoughts… The core of listening is generosity, empathy, graciousness, and patience… At root, listening is an act of falling in love–with ourselves, with the people we are listening to.” – James Navé, Poet

“People may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buehner

“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” – David W. Ausburger

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” – Ralph G. Nichols

“Listening to people reminds them that their lives matter.” – David Isay, Founder of StoryCorps

“Attention is the most basic form of love. Through it, we bless and are blessed.” – John Tarrant, Zen Master

“There is nothing human which is alien to us. Everything is in me. I am a little child… a murderer… a saint.” – Erich Fromm, “The Art of Listening”

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” – Karl A. Menninger, Psychiatrist

“Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals.” – L.J. Isham

“All other’s desires are the same as mine. Every being wants happiness and does not want suffering.”  – The Dalai Lama

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” – Karl A. Menninger

“Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

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Listening Listening: The Gist Factors in Listening Styles and Levels of Listening Listening Challenges 1: the Dinner Guests Listening Challenges 2 Better Listening Elevated Conversation Hearing and Understanding Listening Practice and Exercises Listening Inspiration and Resources