Listening Labs: Experiments in Connection
Listening Labs are guided spaces for NYU students that will help you feel heard and connected to one another, and help strengthen your listening skills through structured sharing
What Are Listening Labs?
Listening Labs are judgment-free, advice-free, welcoming spaces where you can be heard and connect deeply with your peers.
Participants share and listen to each other in structured, time-limited sessions. Trained Listening Lab Leaders provide prompts to give you parameters around what to share and step-by-step guidance for how to be a deep listener.
- Have a lot on your mind?
- Looking to be heard in a warm, nonjudgmental, advice-free context with other students?
- Want to hone your listening skills to support friends who are struggling and in your spaces of leadership?
Listening Labs are for you!
"I feel I've been listened to. People around me are really encouraging...I feel connected with others."
What This Is
- This is a caring container to learn the skills of authentic listening and sharing.
- This is a chance to be heard.
- This is a chance to connect.
What This Is Not
- This is not therapy or counseling.
- This is not an informal space for chit-chat or small talk.
"I felt like everyone was super honest which gave me permission to be vulnerable. I came in feeling stressed and the connection allowed me to calm and become more present. I learned how similar we all are and how negative thought/bias struggle exists within us all."
How are Listening Labs structured?
We offer Listening Labs in two formats. The structure of your Lab will depend on whether you participate in a pop-up group or sign up for a 1:1 Lab.
Pop-Up Group Listening Labs
We offer pop-up group Listening Labs by request to students across the university. All Labs include a blend of large and small-group listening activities, as well as structured partner sharing. Labs can be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 60 minutes in length.
Sample activities include:
- Reflective listening
- Repeated question-sharing and listening
- Responding to prompts
- Mindful listening
- And more!
Request a Pop-Up Group Listening Lab
Faculty and staff can request a Listening Lab for your class or office. Students can request a Listening Lab for your residence hall, club, or gathering.
1:1 Listening Lab Session
You (the student) can sign up for an individual session of sharing with a Listening Lab Leader (a fellow NYU student who is trained in deep listening) and share your response to various prompts. These sessions can be 15 minutes or 20 minutes long.
Why is NYU piloting Listening Labs?
Let's face it, New York City and NYU can sometimes feel lonely and big, and it is not always easy to connect with other students.
Plus, research shows that loneliness has become an epidemic for college students across the country. One recent study of 33,000 college students found that two-thirds describe themselves as struggling with loneliness and isolation.
Additionally, according to a study of 2,000 college students conducted by the Born This Way Foundation in 2021, seven out of ten college students tell a peer they are struggling with their mental health before they tell anyone else.
In the same study, nearly half (48%) of students say the disruption caused by the pandemic made them more likely to seek out peer counseling, including 20% who say it has made them "much more likely." This is particularly true for Black students (58% "likely"), Latinx students (54% "likely"), Transgender students (61% "likely), and first-generation college students (54% "likely).
"It was really beautiful to hear about everyone's life experience because the sharing felt extremely honest...I felt excited to get to chat with my peers."
Finally, learning the skills of deep listening is an essential skill for leadership. The NYU Wasserman Center has identified "Communication" as a central "Violet Ready" career skill area. Learning to listen deeply, without interrupting, minimizing or even problem-solving for the person who is sharing, is an important component of clear communication. Students practicing this skill through Listening Labs will strengthen their interviewing, networking, and leadership skills and deepen their ability to form meaningful personal and professional relationships during their time at NYU and beyond.