social movements + innovation lab


Deep listening is a process of learning about the underlying feelings and emotions in a conversation. When gathering research, we need to engage in deep listening in order to focus on the point of view of people who are affected by an issue.


Munson, Ziad. The Making of Pro-Life Activists: How Social Movement Mobilization Works.

9 Things Good Listeners Do Differently” by Lindsay Holmes

Vecchio, Robert. “Power, Politics, and Influence.” Leadership: Understanding the Dynamics of Power and Influence in Organizations, edited by Robert Vecchio, University of Notre Dame Press.

Sanchez-Hucles, Janis and Donald Davis. “Women and Women of Color in Leadership: Complexity, Identity and Intersectionality.” American Psychologist, 65(3), p. 171-181.

Krznaric, Roman. Empathy: Why It Matters and How to Get It.

What This Means for Social Justice Activists & Academics

Social Justice Activists Social justice folks are skilled in listening to stakeholders’ stories and experiences. Through deep listening, social justice folks can strengthen their listening skills by observing the non-verbal cues and distinguishing between facts, feelings, and emotions of a conversation. Through deep listening practices social justice folks focus less on their own perspectives and feelings and strive to learn something new.
Academics When teaching this curriculum, students must learn how to engage in deep listening in order to call co-workers, collaborators, and allies into courageous conversations. By gaining this skill, students increase their ability to skillfully have uncomfortable conversations by focusing on the stories and experiences of everyone involved in a conflict. Learning how to listen for the underlying emotions, issues of difference, and power dynamics of conversations prepares students to hold more inclusive and equitable conversations surrounding conflict.