Emotional Listening — How to Listen for Human Insights

If a human insight falls in a consumer forest and nobody is listening…did it really happen?

We all get very caught up — and for good reason — in getting deeper insights. Finding a new way to frame human behavior is exciting and can help brands build business. But often in the process of digging deeper we forget one simple truth: We don’t really know how to listen for human insights.

Maybe it would help to make an Emotional Listening Plan for each insights project to make sure that brand, client insight and insight strategists are on the same page and can collaborate in a more meaningful way to elevate the insight into something that can truly transform a brand and have everyone feel a deeper sense of ownership. Within this, maybe clients would actually get more out of an insights project if we gave them ways to listen to the underlying human meaning of what’s being discussed.

In this session, we’ll talk about how we have started approaching listening in a more overt, disciplined way with our clients and teaching different ways to listen, connecting clients more directly with the people they’re targeting and potentially changing the insight culture within client companies.

We will cover how to:

Create a narrative/storytelling environment that allows people to tell stories about themselves.
Listen with the third ear, applying our experiences and associations.
Listening for scenes and story arcs that help us understand how people want to see themselves.
Listening for archetypes and the identity aspirations that come out of them.
Listening for verbs that tell us how people want to act.
Listening for emotional intensity that should guide us to what really matters.
Listening plans in different environments — groups, IDI’s, online and different project types.

Presentation type:

Subjects covered:


  1. How we listen can make or break our insight work. Listening needs to be talked about and thought to maximize success for each project.
  2. How to set up discussions to elicit more human insights.
  3. Some specific listening techniques that could transform the way their organization listens to research.

To learn more about RealityCheck Consulting visit www.realitycheckinc.com.


Presentation Materials

Emotional Listening — How to Listen for Human Insights