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Listen Up! Day 1: Face-to-Face

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The Challenge: Today, if someone starts an important conversation with you on text or email, respond in person.  In a pinch, make it a phone call. Then tell us how your day went! Call us, of course, and leave a voicemail at (803) 820-WNYC. Or send us a voice memo at

To kick off our listening bootcamp week, we first want you to create more opportunities to listen.

We have so many ways to connect digitally that we don't have to use our listening skills as often — and sometimes we prefer it that way. Even just the presence of your phone will affect your in-person interactions. But while we might feel the pull of digital communication when we're offline, we also know that online messages can often be harder to decipher.

Beatrice de Gelder, a professor of neuroscience and psychology, says reading the words of someone's message is easy, but understanding them? That's "a whole different ball game." We miss a lot of crucial information — facial expressions, tone, gestures — when we keep our conversations to text or email.

The comedian and MTV “Decoded” host Franchesca Ramsey has mastered the art of finding humor in serious topics — and getting her audience to listen. But she says our infatuation with the internet can make us poor listeners. "Especially because social media's all like, 'Here's what I'm thinking, here's what I'm eating...'' Ramsey explains, "like every single thing online is about me, me, me, rather than an actual conversation." 

Watch an episode of MTV's "Decoded" below, and be sure to check out Franchesca's weekly podcast "Last Name Basis."

To make sure you hear every challenge, subscribe to the Only Human podcast on iTunes or anywhere else using our RSS feed.

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