The ability to listen is a skill we can practice on National Day of Listening, which is the day after Thanksgiving on November 26, a day to get away from the chaos of the world, just to relax, hear, and be heard. It’s an unofficial day to practice listening, encouraging us to make time to record our family and local community stories. Since good listeners fight off depression and gain more familiarity with other people of different backgrounds, listening is highly recommended.
History of National Day of Listening
National Day of Listening was launched by the national oral history project StoryCorps in 2008. StoryCorps is a non-profit organization whose voluntary mission is to give Americans a chance to tell, document, and save the stories of their lives. They conduct interviews then collate and archive them at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. Radio personality Dave Isay founded the organization in 2003. He adored his grandparents and loved spending time listening to their stories. He decided to record the stories they told, the things they had to say about life in general, and everyone who listened loved them. Unfortunately, he lost the tape after they passed. That inspired him to come up with the genius idea behind StoryCorps.
The organization duly noted that people love to be listened to because it gives them a sense of importance. When listened to, people naturally feel important to the listener, whether it is their loved ones, neighbors, or the community as a whole. The goal of the Day of Listening is to share the stories of diverse people to connect them to their society. It falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, so it is the perfect extension for friends and families to spend time together.
Dialogue takes place anywhere, at home, on social media, on the beach, on a bus, or on the train. We often engage in conversations with those around us unintentionally. It’s a naturally simple, but amazingly subtle concept. National Day of Listening helps us spread genuine insight across cultures and generations, giving us a beneficial connection and vision that we can pass on to coming generations.
National Day of Listening timeline
Since its founding in 2003, StoryCorps has interviewed over 600,000 participants.
StoryCorps releases their first book, “Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project,” a detailed guide on listening and its importance.
StoryCorps launches the Day of Listening as a national holiday in the U.S.
StoryCorps celebrates 10 years since the holiday has been loved and observed.
National Day of Listening FAQs
How can I conduct my own interview?
To conduct an interview, get your list of questions ready, put your recorder on, ensure your interviewee is in the right mood, and sit close enough to make eye contact. Identify yourselves and your mutual connection, then start asking your questions. Listen closely with a positive attitude and ask follow-up questions.
Isn't listening boring?
There are so many topics to choose from, and everyone has one they are very interested in. It’s a matter of choosing something you’re passionate about. But if you don’t want to listen, you can always be the one to talk and have someone listen.
What are the three A's of active listening?
Attention, adjustment, and attitude. Listening is a conscious action that depends on these three fundamental skills collectively known as Triple-A Listening.
How to Observe National Day of Listening
Listen to others
Just listen. What is the most obvious way to celebrate National Day of Listening other than listening to what others have to say?
Use the StoryCorps DIY guide
Download the do-it-yourself guide that the organizers of this special day designed to help you develop your own interview collection projects. You can interview anyone, of any age, in any place. It's that easy.
Keep it lively
Keep the interviews lively. If you're going to conduct an interview at home, bring out the refreshments, things that ignite memories, bring out the fun in everyone. If it's online, keep it lively still, be humorous.
5 Amazing Facts About Listening
We learn more by listening
85% of what we learn is by listening, not by talking or reading.
Listening helps us build mutual trust
Empathetic listening helps us build stronger, long-lasting relationships.
Listening reduces anxiety
Listening helps to relieve anxiety and generally improves the quality of life.
We listen to 450 words per minute
We can listen to between 250 to 450 words per minute.
Women listen more than men
Research shows that men use only half their brains to listen while women listen better.
Why National Day of Listening is Important
We get a better perspective
We learn more from listening. And who is in a better position to tell us about history than those advanced in age?
Listening is healthy
Just listening with emotion leaves our hearts in a better condition. It is also known to reduce anxiety and depression.
Kids love answers
Kids have tons of questions, and on National Day of Listening, we make time to satisfy their endless questioning. So if you are a grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, uncle, aunt, cousin, teacher, or neighbor, it is time to appease that little one's curiosity.
National Day of Listening dates