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

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For many of us, listening is simply something we do on autopilot. We hear just enough of what others say to get our work done, maintain friendships, and be polite with our neighbors. But we miss crucial opportunities to go deeper--to give and receive honest feedback, to make connections that will endure for the long haul, and to discover who people truly are at their core. For many of us, listening is simply something we do on autopilot. We hear just enough of what others say to get our work done, maintain friendships, and be polite with our neighbors. But we miss crucial opportunities to go deeper--to give and receive honest feedback, to make connections that will endure for the long haul, and to discover who people truly are at their core. Fortunately, listening can be improved--and Ximena Vengoechea can show you how. In Listen Like You Mean It, she offers a listening guide with tried-and-true strategies honed in her own research sessions and drawn from interviews with marriage counselors, podcast hosts, life coaches, journalists, filmmakers, and other listening experts. Through Vengoechea's set of scripts, key questions, exercises, and illustrations, you'll learn to: Quickly build rapport with strangers Ask the right questions to deepen a conversation Pause at the right time to encourage vulnerability Navigate a conversation that's gone off the rails.


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For many of us, listening is simply something we do on autopilot. We hear just enough of what others say to get our work done, maintain friendships, and be polite with our neighbors. But we miss crucial opportunities to go deeper--to give and receive honest feedback, to make connections that will endure for the long haul, and to discover who people truly are at their core. For many of us, listening is simply something we do on autopilot. We hear just enough of what others say to get our work done, maintain friendships, and be polite with our neighbors. But we miss crucial opportunities to go deeper--to give and receive honest feedback, to make connections that will endure for the long haul, and to discover who people truly are at their core. Fortunately, listening can be improved--and Ximena Vengoechea can show you how. In Listen Like You Mean It, she offers a listening guide with tried-and-true strategies honed in her own research sessions and drawn from interviews with marriage counselors, podcast hosts, life coaches, journalists, filmmakers, and other listening experts. Through Vengoechea's set of scripts, key questions, exercises, and illustrations, you'll learn to: Quickly build rapport with strangers Ask the right questions to deepen a conversation Pause at the right time to encourage vulnerability Navigate a conversation that's gone off the rails.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book was a strange journey. It started strong for me, started to peter out, and then picked up again at the end. The author used her experience in business, as a researcher for apps, to explain how to better listen in conversation. It makes sense. Her job was to listen to people’s first thoughts, experiences, and usage needs of an app to make it work better for them and for the company. These words really suck. I can’t seem to put it into any coherent thought. I’m pushing to post something This book was a strange journey. It started strong for me, started to peter out, and then picked up again at the end. The author used her experience in business, as a researcher for apps, to explain how to better listen in conversation. It makes sense. Her job was to listen to people’s first thoughts, experiences, and usage needs of an app to make it work better for them and for the company. These words really suck. I can’t seem to put it into any coherent thought. I’m pushing to post something on days I didn’t think that I would. Fuck it. I suck at wrapping up what I think of a whole book. Bottom line of this one was that I liked it. I got some good bits from it. And I hope I can practice some of the things I learned in it. That’s the key. Most of it was the stuff you always hear about how to be a better listener, but if you don’t practice new ways consciously and often, you’ll only fall back into your old routines and habits. How does one practice better conversation techniques? Especially now. One thing I noted to myself in the margins of this book was that much of these listening skills could really be used in self-discovery and self-talk as well. How we talk to and listen to ourselves is how we look at the world around us. Can I make some useful reminders to practice these techniques on myself at home? If I can master a few of them, make them a habit when alone, maybe I can use them more readily the next time I’m out to lunch with a friend? Halfway into the book, I started to get frustrated. Some of it seems too technical and businesslike. Maybe these would be great for someone that was around a lot of people all the time, at work or school. I don’t feel like they apply to my lifestyle. I read but glossed over much of those chapters and kept reading instead of giving up and not finishing. I’m glad I did because the chapters on difficult discussions and resting and recharging between conversations were especially inspiring. “We can express ourselves with humility, admitting what we do and do not know, and with curiosity, staying open to how others may receive us in conversation. We can practice patience, become aware of when our body language is telling us we are closing ourselves off, and quiet our minds when our thoughts and fears get in the way of being honest. We can make the necessary space to be ourselves, just as we do for our partners.” See? Conversation is a give and take thing. We are all in need of that intimate connection with another human or two. The first step, like everything we wish to achieve, it ours to make. Was the book worth reading? Yes, and it would be even more so if you happen to be in a situation where you work or live closely with a lot of other people.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Vikram Goyal

    "Conversation by conversation you can discover in others emotions, hopes, fears, dreams and anxieties that make each of us unique. You can know others as they truly are, not as you assume they are or wish them to be and in turn they can get to know the real you too. When we listen with empathy we raise the bar for our conversations and relationships and inspire others to do the same." Listen Like You Mean It — A book that will provide you with the roadmap to becoming a better listener. It i "Conversation by conversation you can discover in others emotions, hopes, fears, dreams and anxieties that make each of us unique. You can know others as they truly are, not as you assume they are or wish them to be and in turn they can get to know the real you too. When we listen with empathy we raise the bar for our conversations and relationships and inspire others to do the same." Listen Like You Mean It — A book that will provide you with the roadmap to becoming a better listener. It is written by Ximena Vengoechea. She is a user researcher who she has spent nearly a decade facilitating hundreds of conversations at LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. The author lays out a detailed action plan on getting started with empathetic listening and navigating the challenges associated with it. Richly interspersed with stories from the author’s life, its easy to relate every topic with your personal experiences. The book is extremely comprehensive and has touched upon all aspects of empathetic listening. Some of the topics that the book addresses include: 1. cultivating a listening mindset 2. Staying present in the conversation and not getting distracted 3. Going beyond words and listening to non verbal cues 4. Deepening conversation through better questions 5. Getting comfortable with silence during conversations 6. Exiting conversations when they are taking a toll on you 7. Having difficult conversations in certain relationships 8. Having conversations around sensitive topics I have compiled my detailed notes here: https://baos.pub/listen-like-you-mean... This is a highly recommended read for anyone looking to level up their listening skills in order to develop stronger relationships and become more effective in life & work!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jung

    It isn’t always easy to establish deep, warm connections in our conversations with others. That’s because when we listen, we tend to do so on a superficial level, hearing our conversation partner’s literal words but missing their underlying meaning. To make others feel heard and understood, we should practice empathetic listening. This requires us to stay present, observe our conversation partner’s needs, ask connecting questions, stay flexible – and, sometimes, redirect the conversation when we It isn’t always easy to establish deep, warm connections in our conversations with others. That’s because when we listen, we tend to do so on a superficial level, hearing our conversation partner’s literal words but missing their underlying meaning. To make others feel heard and understood, we should practice empathetic listening. This requires us to stay present, observe our conversation partner’s needs, ask connecting questions, stay flexible – and, sometimes, redirect the conversation when we sense that things are heading the wrong way. Actionable advice:  Train your ear. The next time you have a conversation, pay close attention to the unique characteristics of the other person’s voice. Try to get a sense of that voice’s neutral baseline by paying attention to things like pitch –⁠ is the person’s voice naturally high or low? –⁠ and expressiveness –⁠ does the person tend to be more animated, or speak in a monotone? Once you’ve established the baseline, you’ll be able to tell more easily when the person is deviating from it, and why that might be the case.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andres Herrera

    A veces por la familiaridad y el hábito pensamos que dl escuchar es algo natural y evidente para los seres humanos, pero sorprendentemente es un hábito que vamos cultivando con los años y que puede mejorar o empeorar. En un mundo que cada vez se mueve más rápido y con mayor información, el mejorar nuestras habilidades de escuchar se vuelve imprescindible. Es por ello, que este libro me pareció una excelente herramienta para este cometido ya que reflexiona en aspectos importantes de la comunicaci A veces por la familiaridad y el hábito pensamos que dl escuchar es algo natural y evidente para los seres humanos, pero sorprendentemente es un hábito que vamos cultivando con los años y que puede mejorar o empeorar. En un mundo que cada vez se mueve más rápido y con mayor información, el mejorar nuestras habilidades de escuchar se vuelve imprescindible. Es por ello, que este libro me pareció una excelente herramienta para este cometido ya que reflexiona en aspectos importantes de la comunicación como lo son los prejuicios, los tipos de escucha, estrategias para active listening, qué hacer cuando una conversación sale mal, o nadie habla, o cuando lidiamos con personas difíciles. Me parece que es un excelente aditamento para cualquiera que tenga un interés legítimo en mejorar esta habilidad. En algunas partes se siente repetitivo pero en general tiene un tono entretenido, lleno de anécdotas y con valiosos consejos.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sorrowka

    More like an introduction to counseling psychology textbook. It consists what i learn from the textbook and 7cups value, such as emphathy, humility, and curiousity. yes indeed! curiousity is required a lot when listening to others, even if it's beyond your scope. but asking won't hurt, I asked about tech and coding tho I don't understand nor remember much about it. but it's showing that i was engaged to the topic he brought. and listening type such as investigator, explorer, or explainer. in here t More like an introduction to counseling psychology textbook. It consists what i learn from the textbook and 7cups value, such as emphathy, humility, and curiousity. yes indeed! curiousity is required a lot when listening to others, even if it's beyond your scope. but asking won't hurt, I asked about tech and coding tho I don't understand nor remember much about it. but it's showing that i was engaged to the topic he brought. and listening type such as investigator, explorer, or explainer. in here they use the term of probing questions as "connecting questions", which how you dig and deepen the conversation you have. Especially in case that person is reluctant to disclose, or merely being crude. ------------------------------------- If you would like to advance in practical way, you may want to read Just Listen by Goulston

  6. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    I’m not convinced that this book is a practical tool for ordinary conversations. Many of the techniques suggested by Vengoechea are impractical for casual conversations and, I think, will only make your friends and family ask you why you’re talking so weird. Additionally, the section about evaluating voice pitch and volume as well as fidgeting or eye contact as signs of confidence and discomfort came off as a little sexist and ableist. Vengoechea tried to mitigate that by explaining getting a ba I’m not convinced that this book is a practical tool for ordinary conversations. Many of the techniques suggested by Vengoechea are impractical for casual conversations and, I think, will only make your friends and family ask you why you’re talking so weird. Additionally, the section about evaluating voice pitch and volume as well as fidgeting or eye contact as signs of confidence and discomfort came off as a little sexist and ableist. Vengoechea tried to mitigate that by explaining getting a baseline for a person before reading too deeply into them, seeing a chart where a low voice is “authoritative and dominant” and a high voice is “unserious and submissive” was very unsettling. I did find value in some of the exercises, but overall I don’t recommend this book unless you’re prepared to take most of it with a huge grain of salt.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nguyen Thi Van Anh

    "Real" listening is in demand! The idea of the book is not new, so I give it a 3. Anyway, it's an easy read with a clear outline and real-life examples, though some advice the author gives sounds a bit cliché and often easier to say than done. The key takeaway from the book is that it isn't always easy to establish deep, warm connections in our conversations with others. That's because when we listen, we tend to do so on a superficial level, hearing our conversation partner's literal words but mi "Real" listening is in demand! The idea of the book is not new, so I give it a 3. Anyway, it's an easy read with a clear outline and real-life examples, though some advice the author gives sounds a bit cliché and often easier to say than done. The key takeaway from the book is that it isn't always easy to establish deep, warm connections in our conversations with others. That's because when we listen, we tend to do so on a superficial level, hearing our conversation partner's literal words but missing their underlying meaning. To make others feel heard and understood, we should practice empathetic listening. This requires us to stay present, observe our conversation partner's needs, ask connecting questions, stay flexible - and sometimes, redirect the conversation when we sense that things are heading the wrong way.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anu

    Written by a user researcher, the examples in the story are particularly relatable if you are in the tech industry. Certainly useful even if you’re not. An area I personally struggle with, is to listen to people with poorly analysed opinions, obviously incorrect information or dogmatic beliefs without giving away my impatience on my face. Judgmental much? Yeah, probably. The book does a good job of showing how to use curiosity to be present and listening, even in situations like those above. It Written by a user researcher, the examples in the story are particularly relatable if you are in the tech industry. Certainly useful even if you’re not. An area I personally struggle with, is to listen to people with poorly analysed opinions, obviously incorrect information or dogmatic beliefs without giving away my impatience on my face. Judgmental much? Yeah, probably. The book does a good job of showing how to use curiosity to be present and listening, even in situations like those above. It also serves a good dose of humility by illustrating how empathetic listening can change your own perspective, especially in situations of power differences.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alfie Yee

    Really practical book that is beyond making eye contact and repeating what has been said mantras. The author having a background as a interviewer and researcher shares her tips of guiding and navigating conversation, something I have always thought as a natural flow but it seems to require more conscious effort

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    I have been trying to improve my listening approach for a couple of years and this is one of the most useful tools I've discovered. Practical and easy/fun to read. Easily bounces between examples for both work and home. Useful scripts and practices. An unexpectedly moving and inspirational final chapter that really brought home how listening is key to connection. I have been trying to improve my listening approach for a couple of years and this is one of the most useful tools I've discovered. Practical and easy/fun to read. Easily bounces between examples for both work and home. Useful scripts and practices. An unexpectedly moving and inspirational final chapter that really brought home how listening is key to connection.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chris Germain

    The book had some solid chapters that were helpful but also some chapters that weren’t. I don’t like books with long chapters. This book has long chapters. Felt like overall this book could’ve been shortened and edited a little more and it would’ve been much better.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nhi

    I'm not an easy reader but this one is worth reading :)) Highly recommend reading together with Body language, another book I have rated 4⭐️. It helps improve your listening skill, communication skill and after that, EQ as a result. I'm not an easy reader but this one is worth reading :)) Highly recommend reading together with Body language, another book I have rated 4⭐️. It helps improve your listening skill, communication skill and after that, EQ as a result.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This isn’t the book I was expecting. It started off strong, but the author’s intense focus on her research and her interactions with participants didn’t feel super relatable. There are some really helpful nuggets, especially towards the end.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Whitaker

    A neat idea -- a Silicon Valley user experience researcher gives lessons about how to understand and connect with people. I liked the beginning but the tips got so numerous and basic by the end that it was hard to stay engaged.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aminur Rahman

    Mean it

  16. 4 out of 5

    Romina Pons

    Es un buen libro si te dedicas a cosas como entrevistar, hacer investigación de campo, etc... a la mitad flaquea un poco. Si bien no dice nada nuevo, está bien estructurado

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Nicola

    I didn't connect with this one right away but it started to make a lot of sense the more I read. Worthwhile read. I didn't connect with this one right away but it started to make a lot of sense the more I read. Worthwhile read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Priyanka Sinha

    Even if you feel you are a great listener.. read this book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vaibhav Puranik

    I did learn new things from this book such as listening fatigue empathetic listening etc. Overall it's a descent book that made me aware that listening is essentially connecting with people. I did learn new things from this book such as listening fatigue empathetic listening etc. Overall it's a descent book that made me aware that listening is essentially connecting with people.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Dovetails nicely with my recent interest in qualitative research. The audiobook's editor must have been asleep for the last hour or so, lots of repetition. Dovetails nicely with my recent interest in qualitative research. The audiobook's editor must have been asleep for the last hour or so, lots of repetition.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sreeja Kaimal

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Byron Ernest

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steve Bullington

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kellie Murtle

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sergej Zimpel

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alisa

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gemma

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melodie Rae

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Crown

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