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Curated by Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., Dr. John G. Igwebuike, and Dr. Peter R. Malik


©2021 All Rights Reserved America & Moore, LLC & The Lead Listening Institute, LLC

“The first duty of love is to let suffering speak.”

– Cornel West
“If one has to pick one kind of pedagogy over all others, I pick listening. It breaks down prejudices and stereotypes; it widens self-imposed limits; it takes one into another’s life, her hard times and, if there is any, her joy too.”

– Andrea Dworkin
“If we want people to fully show up, to bring their whole selves including their unarmored, whole hearts—so that we can innovate, solve problems, and serve people—we must be vigilant about creating a culture in which people
feel safe, seen, heard, and respected.”

– Brené Brown
“The most called-upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear.”

– Maya Angelou
“Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man--when I could get it--and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”

– Sojourner Truth

Listening is the divine art, deliberate consciousness and disciplined practice of acknowledging others and their needs to be seen, heard, listened to, and understood ahead of our own. Imagine a world where each of us did this––put others in the center, focused on their humanity and sought to give everyone what all us desire––to be valued and appreciated for just being who we are.
Structures of supremacy, dominance, oppression, and division seek to counter the positive communicative power of effective listening. When we fail to listen to one another, division wins, hatred wins, violence wins, anger wins, racism wins, discrimination wins, prejudice wins. All of these ills and isms dominate when we cease to center the needs and humanity of others.   
Start with self, breathe, so that you can then listen to the “selves” that are other people. By way of this effort, we truly can change the world by changing ourselves: we can be the change we want to see.  When we get our inner selves right, we can get the world right.
We believe that you can transform not only your inner world but the outer world by transforming what goes into your mind’s ear. The gift of listening to ourselves and then the presentation of ourselves as a gift to others, particularly those who have experienced trauma, oppression, prejudices, bias, and microaggressions, can be powerful healing forces so desperately needed in our world today. Start with self and expand to other selves so that you can change not only communications and conversations but communities.  

Spend time in reflection before you start this 21-day journey to assess how much time you would like to commit to this endeavor on a daily basis.


Research Gate

Listeners as Co-Narrators


Janet Bavelas, Linda Coates, and Trudy Johnson


The authors describe an experiment where listeners interacted in different ways with “narrators”; the authors conclude that “the listeners were co-narrators both through their own specific responses, which helped illustrate the story, and in their apparent effect on the narrator’s performance.”


Daryl Davis: the Black Musician Who Converts Ku Klux Klan Members


Morena Duwe

The Guardian

Duwe profiles Daryl Davis, an African-American musical artist who has talked with Ku Klux Klan members over a period of months and years; these conversations sometimes have resulted in the Klan members actually renouncing their membership in the organization.

CNBC Make It

Stop Asking "How Are You?"; Harvard Researchers Say This Is What Successful People Do When Making Small Talk


Gary Burnison


Burnison provides readers with seven useful tactics for engendering a meaningful conversation.

Listen First Project

Listen First Conversations


Listen First Project


This is a great site for people who want to learn to listen more artfully because the project is dedicated to mending “our frayed social fabric by building relationships and bridging divides.”

Listening Skills: How Becoming a Better Listener Will Benefit Your Career


Dawn Rosenberg McKay


Rosenberg provides readers with a variety of helpful tips about listening which she describes as “a skill that an individual can acquire and improve upon over the course of their lifetime.”

Financial Management

Boost Your Career with Better Listening Skills


Cheryl Meyer

Meyer quotes three listening experts who emphasize the importance of being “compassionate and curious” when listening. 

Harvard Business Review

What Deaf People Can Teach Others about Virtual Communication

Sabina Nawaz and Roberta J. Cordano

Nawaz and Cordano have worked with several deaf executives on how to communicate more effectively during online meetings, and now the authors share their tips with readers in this informative article.


The Most Important Relationship Skill: Do You Have It?

Ashley Neese

This piece discusses listening through the lens of personal relationships, saying that, “I was great at expressing my feelings and articulating my thoughts. But I was also a terrible listener.”

Harvard Business Review

Listening to People

Ralph G. Nichols and Leonard A. Stevens

In this comprehensive article, Nichols and Stevens touch upon a variety of listening topics including the four mental activities that good listeners engage in: thinking ahead, weighing the evidence, reviewing and summarizing, and listening between the lines.

Harvard Business Review

Barriers and Gateways to Communication

Carl R. Rogers and F. J. Roethlisberger

This classic work puts forth the idea that, in the world of business, employees are not cogs in a machine but human beings who deserve to be heard and listened to with dignity.

Harvard Business Review

What Great Listeners Actually Do

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman

Zenger and Folkman make the intriguing point that “good listeners are like trampolines” and rather than merely absorbing ideas and energy, good listeners “amplify, energize, and clarify” the words of a speaker.


Access most where you listen to podcasts


Listening through Racism

Terrence Covin

In this podcast, Covin revisits the topic of racism in the light of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and David McAtee, and talks about how people can become better listeners through wisdom and discernment. (35 minutes)

Someone to Tell It To

Someone to Tell It to

Tom Kaden and Michael Gingerich

This podcast’s mission is to “cultivate meaningful connections through compassionate listening and train others to do the same” and offers more than 40 separate podcasts sharing rich conversations with listeners. (55 minutes)

StoryCorps logo red


StoryCorps’ mission is “to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” This site offers hundreds of personal stories. (25 minute episodes)


Healing the Divide

Marilyn Utz

United and Together

This organization’s goals are helping people with different opinions express their viewpoints through productive discussions and encouraging people to talk to each other “with compassion and a willingness to listen.” (50 minutes)


Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man


Emanuel Acho

This video is the first in a series of conversations that Acho conducts about the everyday realities of being a black man in America. 

(15 minutes)

Overview of the Better Arguments Project

Better Arguments Project This organization believes that “American civic life doesn’t need fewer arguments; it needs better arguments.”

(3 minutes)

Field of Dreams


In this classic movie featuring Kevin Costner, an Iowa farmer named Ray hears a mysterious voice one night saying this: “If you build it, he will come.” By listening to that voice and acting upon its words, Ray learns that the field of dreams that he builds is about much more than bringing former baseball greats out to play.

(2 hours)



Featuring Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington, this movie about Ray Charles explores the trials and triumphs of a blind musician who “sees” with his ears.

(3 hours)

Listen to the Blood


T. D. Jakes

Jakes powerfully tells the story of Cain and Abel and how God told Cain to “listen.”

(1+ hour)

Obama Promotes Listening Skills in First Public Appearance after Leaving Office

Barack Obama  

Obama notes that he learned to first “find out what people are interested in.”

(1 minute)

My Descent into America’s Neo-Nazi Movement &
How I Got Out


Christian Picciolini

Picciolini describes how he patiently listened to members of extremist groups and how these conversations resulted in the extremists reexamining their radical viewpoints.

(20 minutes)

Unintentional Intolerance


Steve Robbins

A social neuroscientist, Robbins discusses how our brains are wired to communicate with the people who care about us.
(11 minutes)

Learning to Be an Active Listener


Sheinelle Jones, Al Roker, and Dylan Dreyer

NBC’s morning newscast openly assess their own listening skills.
(4 minutes)

The World Is Sound — Can Listening Help Us Slow Down?


Rubin Museum of Art
Explores how we respond differently when we begin to listen.

(1 minute)

Lost Voices

Darius Simpson & Scout Bostley

This poetry jam reminds us to listen more than we speak.

(15 minutes)

We Are All Connected with Nature

Nixwaka Yawanawa

Yawanawa makes the point that when we don’t feel heard, we don’t feel seen. (18 minutes)


Man listening to woman

The Listening Sixers

Start to listen artfully to the conversations that are taking place around you at your school, workplace, place of worship, or home. Pick a specific conversation and L-I-S-T-E-N for the following:


  1. Did the listener welcome the speaker to the conversation in any way?

  2. Did the listener allow the speaker to express all of his or her thoughts?

  3. Did the listener interrupt, and, if so, what was the outcome of the interruption?

  4. Did the listener provide the speaker with constructive feedback?

  5. Did the listener give the speaker one last opportunity to contribute his or her thoughts?

  6. Did the listener thank the speaker at the end of the conversation for participating in the conversation?

Do this for several days to sensitize yourself to what works in a conversation and how a conversation fails. Now you are ready to connect with a speaker yourself using the Listening Sixers.



Hashtag on yello background

Follow "listening" organizations on social media. Here are some ideas to get you started. A good way to widen your circle of who you follow is to check out who these organizations follow, quote, repost, and retweet. 

Compassionate Listening Project

This non-profit organization is dedicated to empowering individuals and communities to transform conflict and strengthen cultures of peace through compassionate listening.

Jeopardy Labs

This website hosts a fun game similar to Jeopardy that one can play to bolster listening skills.


Listen First Project

The organization aggregates, aligns, and amplifies the efforts of more than 150 coalition partners into collective campaigns that you can join.

Living Room Conversations

Using this website, you can bridge communication divides by joining a video conversation, hosting a conversation of your own, and tapping into a community of people involved in the work of connection.


The Lead Listening Society

Would you like to start a Listening Society at your school? The Lead Listening Society--Lambda Sigma Nu is the only collegiate society “dedicated to enhancing student listening skills for lifelong learning and leadership success.” Visit their website to learn more by clicking the above link.

Soft Skills for STEM (S3TEM)

This website is the home of the leading soft skills (including active listening) training and development program for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) students and young professionals.


Material is excerpted from the book , “I Want to Hear You”: 22 Tips for Artful Listening before, during, and after a Conversation by John G. Igwebuike and Peter R. Malik. Try the Listening Sixers to connect authentically with a speaker:


Paying attention to a word that the speaker uses more than once and then repeating it back to him or her is a great listening strategy. It lets the speaker know you are tracking his or her thoughts and making a genuine effort to understand them.
Restating a few words or a phrase of the speaker confirms to the speaker that he or she is being heard. You show that you are in step with the speaker’s language. The restatement will also help you clarify your own understanding of the speaker’s thoughts.
In the rephrase part of the Listening Sixers process, recast what you have heard from the speaker in your own words to clarify your understanding through the speaker’s confirmation. You may do this using “I” statements such as the following:


  1. “What I heard you say was . . . Correct?”

  2. “As I understand what you have shared, your thoughts are…Is that it?”

  3. “Based on what I have been hearing, you said…Did I hear you correctly?”

Active listening is hard work, and listening, too, requires active rest. This pause may last from several seconds up to a minute. Making the deliberate and conscious decision to pause is in itself a kind of feedback. By resting, you are offering a subtle signal to the speaker that you are listening and assimilating his or her thoughts.
With this Sixer strategy, your aim is to recapitulate the speaker’s message so well that you receive affirmation from the speaker. After hearing your recap, the speaker will indicate confirmatory affirmation with words or phrases like “yes,” “that’s right,” “exactly,” “spot on,” and “correct.” Your ability to synthesize major points, storylines, and patterns informs the speaker that you have listened well and that you have retained what the speaker has shared.

Redo Over the Course of a Week
Why not practice the Listening Sixers over the course of this coming week? Here’s a sample schedule:
Day 1 (Repeat):   Engage in a conversation. Pick out a key word repeated by the speaker. Practice repeating the speaker’s key word at an appropriate time during the conversation such as after an interruption or during a pause by the speaker.
Day 2 (Restate):  Listen carefully during a conversation today. Pick out a key phrase by the speaker. Practice restating that speaker’s key phrase during the conversation.
Day 3 (Rephrase):  Engage in a conversation on this day. Pick out a key statement by the speaker. Practice rephrasing the statement in your own words and then stating it at an appropriate time during the conversation.
Day 4 (Rest):  Listen artfully during a conversation on this day. Pick out a key word, phrase, or statement by the speaker. When the speaker pauses, you should rest and reflect on the word, phrase, or statement that you have chosen.
Day 5 (Recap):  Engage in an artful conversation today. Pick out key words, phrases, or statements by the speaker. At the end of the conversation, summarize the conversation by recapitulating what you have heard from the perspective of the speaker.
Day 6 (Redo): It’s time to review the week’s conversations. How did you do with regard to the Listening Sixers? What type of feedback did you gain from the speakers during the experience?  What ways might you improve? Use the answers to these questions as a basis for utilizing the Listening Sixers in the future to improve and refine your listening skills.


Actively listening


Take a Listening Assessment

This listening assessment evaluates your general tendency to L-I-S-T-E-N to others. It is designed to help you understand your strengths in listening as well as identify the areas where you may improve.


Share your Learning with Family, Friends, or Colleagues

Is there a resource above that really resonated with you? Be sure to share it and practice your listening skills as you unpack it together.

Take the Listening Quiz

This exercise will be illuminating. You can see for yourself how well you have improved your listening skills.


Nonfiction Books for Adults


Tuned In: The Power of Pressing Pause and Listening

Art Bennett and Laraine Bennett                                                                   

The authors explore listening to others, listening to your heart, and listening to God while making the point that “listening is becoming a scarce commodity in our fast-paced, efficiency-minded, technologically driven society.”


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Susan Cain

Cain aptly delineates the differences between introverts and extroverts with the objective of enabling the reader to have “a new sense of entitlement” to be one’s own self.


How to Win Friends & Influence People

Dale Carnegie

In this classic text first written in 1936, Carnegie makes the simple point that, to make people like you, “be a good listener.”                      


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen R. Covey                                                                       

Covey describes Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood and the principle of empathetic listening which gets you into other people’s frame of reference so that “you look out through it, you see the world the way they see the world, you understand their paradigm, you understand how they feel.”


White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism

Robin DiAngelo                                                                          

In a forceful and compelling way, DiAngelo explains white fragility and how it has been developed, how it protects racial inequality, and what might be done about it.


Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Carol Dweck

Dweck discusses how mindsets are in fact belief systems and how a person with a fixed mindset can work to attain a growth mindset.


The Art of Communicating

Thich Nhat Hanh

Hanh believes that a powerful path to happiness is provided through mastering life’s most important skill: communication. In the book, he helps readers move beyond the perils and frustrations of misunderstanding to learn the listening and speaking skills that will forever change how people experience and impact the world.


“I Want to Hear You”: 22 Tips for Artful Listening, before, during and after a Conversation

John G. Igwebuike with Peter Malik                                          

This book provides readers with a wealth of practical ways to improve their listening skills and interact more fruitfully with their loved ones, friends, and coworkers.


The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice 

Kay Lindahl 

Lindahl explains how deep listening is nurtured by silence, reflection, and presence and how a person can practice a few minutes every day to achieve a greater understanding of listening.


Listening, Thinking, Being: Toward an Ethics of Attunement

Lisbeth Lipari

Lipari brings together a variety of historical, literary, and intercultural perspectives to analyze how important listening is to the human experience.


You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters 

Kate Murphy

In cogent prose, Murphy describes how “truly listening to someone is a skill many seem to have forgotten or perhaps never learned in the first place.”


The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships 

Michael P. Nichols

Nichols shares his experiences as a therapist along with a great deal of wisdom about listening (“a good listener is a witness not a judge of your experience”); he also includes a variety of helpful exercises in the book to enable the reader to become a better listener.


Listening in Everyday Life: A Personal and Professional Approach (second edition)

Edited by Michael Purdy and Deborah Borisoff                                 

This book is a compilation of articles on effective listening in such diverse professions such as health care and journalism.




Literary Works for Adults


“Sonny’s Blues”

James Baldwin

A young man who is misunderstood by the people around him finds a way to communicate to the world through his music.


Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank

While hiding from the Nazis, Anne and her family learn to be silent, and Anne discovers how to listen to herself.


The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

James Weldon Johnson 

Johnson brings forth the theme of listening as he describes the life of a character who felt invisible living in the Jim Crow South.


“In the Penal Colony”

Franz Kafka 

In this short story, a prisoner’s sentence is written onto his flesh; one of the messages of the bizarre tale is about the need to be heard. 


To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

Lee tells the classic story of Atticus Finch as he defends a Black man who has been wrongly accused of a serious crime.


“The Tell Tale Heart”

Edgar Allen Poe

What happens when a heart starts talking?


The Catcher in the Rye

P. J. Salinger

A young man named Holden Caulfield, after not being listened to by the people around him, finally experiences the joy of being heard.


Children’s Literature


Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen

Howard Binkow                                                                                             

The first book in this award-winning series chronicles the tale of a little rabbit that gets into all kinds of trouble for failing to listen properly to his teacher and friends. 


The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett                                                                     

Children discover a mysterious garden.

I Just Don't Like the Sound of No!

Julia Cook                                                                                                      

R. J. can’t stand the word “no” and tries to turn every negative answer into “maybe” or “we’ll see” by arguing.


I Have a Little Problem, Said the Bear

Heinz Janisch                                                                                             

Bear needs help, but none of the animals in his village will listen long enough to hear what his problem is before offering solutions.

Listen, Buddy

Helen Lester                                                                          

Buddy constantly misunderstands his parents’ requests until he finally learns to listen just in time.

Oink, Oink Benny

Barbro Lindgren                                                                         

Benny, an incorrigible little pig, falls into a mud hole after disregarding his mother’s instructions demonstrating the consequences of not listening. 

Why Should I Listen?

Claire Llewellyn

This book takes young readers step by step through the reasons why listening at all times is essential.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Bill Martin, Jr.

By reading this book, young people learn the value of hearing.

Listen and Learn 

Cheri J. Meiners 

Share this colorful book with your preschooler to illustrate the importance of listening during school. 

The Listening Walk

by Paul Showers

The young narrator notes, “I hear many different sounds when I do not talk.”


The Giving Tree

By Shel Silverstein 

The story is about a tree that gives of itself to a person through the many stages of that person’s life showing how good listening necessitates that both the speaker and the listener must surrender their needs in order for each of them to be heard.


The Trumpet of the Swan 

By E. B. White

This book describes a swan with a disability that prevents it from being able to articulate its thoughts as the other swans in the story do.



Difficult emotions––such as shame and anger––though uncomfortable to feel, can guide you to deeper self-awareness about how power and privilege impacts you and the people in your life.

Reflecting and journaling enhances learning. By using a 21-Day Reflect tool each day, you discover how much you are actually understanding and making meaning. It helps you to transform your personal experience into a learning experience, and thus build your racial equity habits.


Disrupting white supremacy, white privilege, and other forms of oppression can be emotionally taxing and exhausting. You will need to fuel up to stay in the work. We offer ideas to explore through the link below.

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