Listen Like You Mean It: Reclaiming the Lost Art of True Connection

Ximena Vengoechea. Portfolio, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-08705-3
Vengoechea, a user experience research manager at Pinterest and columnist for Fast Company, debuts with a straightforward take on changing the way one listens in order to create better connections. Vengoechea writes of routinely conducting in-person research as a means to better understanding “the people who use or could someday use the various products we build” and shares how she gets research participants to open up. Crucial to this is leaving behind the practice of “surface listening,” or passive listening where one hears the “literal—but not emotional—content of a conversation,” in favor of empathetic listening, which requires paying attention to the needs of one’s conversation partners (such as through the pace and intensity of conversation) and creating a safe space for meaningful exchanges. She also offers various exercises to test one’s listening approaches (one can conduct an “energy audit” to notice times when one spaces out or gets distracted) and tools to improve upon listening deficiencies, such as “ear training” tips for noticing the pitch, pacing, volume, expressiveness, rhythm, and tone of one’s conversation partner. She also gives advice on how to navigate difficult conversation (“set aside devices” and “don’t be afraid to pivot”), manage distractions, and approach sensitive subjects (“venture outdoors” and “break eye contact”). This zestful guide will inspire readers to listen better. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/27/2021
Release date: 03/30/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-593-08706-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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