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Ximena Vengoechea

Author of Listen Like You Mean It, UX Researcher, Illustrator

  • About Ximena Vengoechea

    Ximena Vengoechea is a user researcher, writer, and illustrator. An experienced manager, she previously worked at Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Her book Listen Like You Mean It: Reclaiming the Lost Art of True Connection tackles the timeless challenge of effective listening with veracity and offers practical concepts for work and real-life. The book has been named an Editor’s Choice from Porchlight Books and a Next Big Ideas Club Spring Nominee.

    Vengoechea is an experienced speaker and professional listener whose message resonates with companies and institutions across all industries. In her book and her lectures, Vengoechea outlines useful tools to help readers and audiences self-assess their current listening habits. Drawing from her own research sessions, as well as stories and interviews with marriage counselors, life coaches, filmmakers, podcast hosts, and other real-life listening experts, Vengoechea teaches audiences how to feel heard, connected, and understood in a world that keeps turning up the volume.

    Vengoechea has provided expert commentary on listening, workplace communication, and habit formation in publications such as The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, The Muse, Fast Company, Inc., and Harvard Business Review. She also writes Letters from Ximena, a newsletter on tech, culture, career, and creativity and is known for her project The Life Audit.


  • Speaking Topics

    Listen Like You Mean It: How to be a Better Listener from the Boardroom to the Dinner Table

    In this keynote based on her book, Listen Like You Mean It, Ximena Vengoechea reveals tips and tricks for how to be a more effective listener, including how to cultivate a listening mindset, how to identify unmet needs in conversation, and how our own default listening mode can get in the way of connecting with others. Audience members will leave understanding the most common obstacles to effective listening as well as Silicon Valley tested tips to improve their communication, collaboration, conflict management, and interpersonal relationships. This talk can be customized to focus on interpersonal relationships in a variety of settings — in the workplace, at home, among friends, family, etc.

    Collaboration in a Hybrid Workplace

    In a post-pandemic world, remote and hybrid work is no longer an exception, but the norm for many industries. With some employees in the office and many at home, how can conversations remain effective and connected? In this lecture, Ximena Vengoechea will talk about effective listening techniques for in-person, virtual, and hybrid settings. She will talk about how teams can identify which communication methods (email, phone, slack, video call, in person) are best for which goals. She will also address the crucial role of the moderator in a group setting and how he/she can decode group dynamics and run inclusive meetings.

    How to Listen in a Polarized World: Navigating Difficult Conversations

    This is a lecture for our current times. As conversations happen through the intermediary of technology and as a world that is permanently broadcasting thwarts our ability to listen, Vengoechea equips audiences with tools and techniques for tackling the difficult conversations we need to have. She outlines the environmental, topical, and relational hurdles keeping people from becoming empathetic listeners and helps audiences cultivate a listening mindset. What is the right setting for a difficult conversation? How can you manage taboo topics? And how can you gracefully exit or hit pause when a conversation crosses a boundary? Vengoechea equips audiences with tools and techniques for tackling the difficult conversations we need to have.

  • Video

  • Praise for Ximena Vengoechea


    She has a way of speaking that makes you feel comfortable…she provided us with a new perspective.

    West Valley College

    Ximena offered such valuable insight. It felt like I was attending a therapy session — in a good way!


    Loved her zest and warmth. She had clear and actionable points.

    IVY, the Social University

    Incredible presentation. The most engaged we’ve seen folks in a while.


    This was definitely one of our best fireside chats.


    Praise for Listen Like You Mean It

    A helpful guide to listening, especially for people in human resources or research careers who depend on keen observational skills to succeed.

    Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard, coauthors of Treating People Well

    An engaging and approachable book clearly crafted by a professional communicator, this is an essential guide to listening to and truly hearing others. A helpful read for personal and professional development, or an unsubtle gift for encouraging more meaningful conversations.

    Adam J. Kurtz, artist and author of Things Are What You Make of Them

    Listen Like You Mean It is a delight—a secret handbook for mastering communication in the work world and beyond, from a world-class expert who writes like a friend.

    Jake Knapp, author of Make Time and Sprint

    Being a good listener is a superpower—and extremely hard to do! Ximena shares with us immensely practical advice in a step-by-step playbook that delights, informs and inspires. A must read for anyone looking to build better relationships at work and grow in their career.

    Alexandra Cavoulacos, founder of The Muse and coauthor of The New Rules of Work

    Listen Like You Mean It brings an extremely underappreciated skill to the forefront, and illuminates practical ways we can all improve, whether we’re designing products, trying to reach an agreement, or simply listening to a friend. The world would be a better place if we all developed a listening mindset.

    Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy, coauthors of No Hard Feelings

    This is a book about generosity and dignity, about caring enough to actually let the truth come through. In the race to build the next big thing, too often we forget to build the right thing.

    Seth Godin, author of The Practice

    Ximena’s front-line experience as a researcher results in an impressive array of relatable stories and actionable tools to better understand each other and to create space for new ideas and honest feelings.

    Julie Zhuo, author of The Making of a Manager

    You know listening is one of the best ways to learn and connect, but how much time have you actually spent analyzing your style and skills? As a user experience researcher, Ximena Vengoechea specializes in the art and science of listening. Her book is full of revealing, instantly applicable ideas for leveraging your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses.

    Adam Grant, author of Think Again and Originals, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

    This zestful guide will inspire readers to listen better.

    Publisher's Weekly

    In her book, Vengoechea doesn’t just offer tips and tricks on how to listen more intently; she goes deeper. Vengoechea also covers how to deepen conversations, how to handle them when they get tough, and how to get more out of them.

    Could there be a more relevant book for our times? While there are plenty of books on persuasion, none tells us how to influence others through the quiet art of understanding. Vengoechea implores us to truly hear other people (maybe for the first time) and is the perfect author of a book on why we should listen like we mean it.

    Nir Eyal, bestselling author of Hooked and Indistractable
  • Books by Ximena Vengoechea

  • Media About Ximena Vengoechea

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