RE3: Responding Effectively to Emotional Expression Tool Demo


How can you best respond to how people feel when you tell them unwelcome news?

  • When adolescents are told they have to cancel plans to go out that night with friends?
  • When employees are told they didn’t get a promotion?
  • When suspects are told they committed a serious crime?


Our new online interactive training tool Responding Effectively to Emotional Expressions (we refer to it as RE3) helps you figure out what to say and what not to say, and why. RE3 assumes you don’t have any trouble spotting the emotions that are displayed, and to be certain there is no ambiguity about that, the emotions that are shown are named in the choices that are offered to you. The focus is not on how to recognize emotion but how to respond to emotions. If you want some help on recognizing emotion, go to the Face Suite and use METT3.0 and SETT 3.0; you don’t need to use METT Profile and METT+ before using RE3, but those training tools will expand and improve your ability to spot facial expressions.

Uncertain about the difference between RE3, METT, and SETT?
RE3 helps you determine how to respond to someone’s emotional expressions. RE3 assumes you already have acquired the skills to recognize facial expressions. METT and SETT are tools for sharpening your ability to recognize what someone is feeling. If you haven’t yet used METT and SETT, do so now and then come back and use RE3.


Overview of macro, micro and mini (subtle) expressions. 

  • Macro expressions: these are the usual facial expressions that you see without difficulty, because they typically are shown across the entire face, and last a few seconds. Most people don’t need help to spot macro expressions, but if you do, the Training, Practice and Review sections of METT will help you.
  • Micro expressions: these very brief expressions (about 1/25 of a second) reveal attempts by people to conceal how they are feeling. They may be the result of deliberate suppression, or they may occur when people are unaware of how they are feeling, the micros can be the result of unconscious repression.
  • Mini or Subtle expressions: These are very small expressions, are usually limited to just one area of the face. They either occur when an emotion is just beginning to be felt, or leakage of concealed emotions.


The goal in RE3 is to learn to be more considerate in how you respond to another person’s emotions, more aware that there are always choices, and tradeoffs. While RE3 should make you more thoughtful about what to say, it does not train you how to say it – this requires in-person coaching at a modest cost to fine tune your voice, facial expression, and other aspects of your nonverbal behavior. If you want to learn more about emotions, what triggers them, and also how to respond to them, read Paul Ekman’s book Emotions Revealed, and his book co-authored with the Dalai Lama Emotional Awareness. If you are interested in Ekman’s ideas about how to increase compassion, read his latest book Moving Toward Global Compassion.