Improve Your Listening by Mirroring Gestures

Improve Your Listening by Mirroring Gestures

Failing to listen during an important conversation not only requires you to ask questions later, it can give off the impression of not caring, even if it’s really just bad habits. Workplace consultant Gretchen Neels tells the New York Times’ Shifting Careers blog that subtly “mirroring” the gestures of the person you’re listening to—they lean their head to the left, you lean to the right—can push your brain into listening and leave a reassuring impression.

While this might sound odd, apparently this kind of activity puts you into the same groove. Ms. Neels says that if you are with friends and feeling very connected, you are probably mirroring each other’s body language since it’s something people automatically do in situations where they are comfortable.

Not a bad trick, but you might want to practice it on a spouse or a friend who can laugh at you first. How do you force yourself into receptive listening if it’s not in the cards for that moment? Share your tips in the comments. Photo by b d solis.


  • Finally, a hack about listening.
    One of the tip I tried to share with a lot of people about listening is to try to make sure that you’re following up with the conversation and that you actually understood what the other person is saying.

    You can do this by repeating what your friend said before and asking for confirmation. Do this even if you are sure that you understand what they are saying. The benefit is that when you repeat it, many times it helps for you to catch any ‘between the lines’ message that may not be clear at first.

    And also for the other person to have a feeling of being appreciated and that you actually care to listen to what they say.

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