If You Want People to Listen to You, Tell a Story

Guy Itzchakov, Dotan R. Castro, Avraham N. Kluger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We hypothesized that (a) when people share a meaningful story, as opposed to when they share information, they make their partner listen well, and (b) that narrative-induced listening is positively associated with speakers’ psychological safety and negatively associated with their social anxiety. In Study 1 (N = 45), we showed that a meaningful story is perceived much more as a narrative and higher in narrative quality than two types of informational-discourses (telling about daily routine and describing buildings). In Study 2 (N = 52), we randomly asked participants to either share a meaningful story or tell about their daily routine. The participants sharing a meaningful story reported that their interlocutor was a better listener, d = 0.61, 95% CI |0.32, 0.92|. In Study 3 (N = 42), we compared the effect of sharing a meaningful story to describing buildings, and replicated the results of Study 2, d = 1.10, 95% CI |0.61, 1.59|. Moreover, we found that the perceived listening, which was induced by the narrative, mediated the manipulation effects on psychological safety, and social anxiety. Thus, we concluded that when speakers share meaningful stories they make their partner listen well and consequently experience higher psychological safety and lower feelings of social anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-133
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Listening
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © International Listening Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Applied Psychology


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