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African girl communicating through a tin

The Lost Skill of Empathic Listening

We have conversations that probably end up in arguments because we don’t do a good job of empathic or active listening. Empathic listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual interesting and trust. Each person has the opportunity accurately interpret the message of the other person, and respond appropriately. The response is the most important part of the discussion, so listening intently makes it that much more important. The ability to listen empathetically is what sets people a part from those who are primarily ego driven in conversation.

A reason why people tend to not listen actively is because they are searching for the solution while having the conversation. Mediation doesn’t solve everything. Even when there is no solution, actively listening to the issues has profound benefits. Sometimes the people you talk to just want to know that you care. In the case that a person has a problem, they aren’t trying to solve it by themselves.

They are looking to you for help. It’s a slap in the face if you insist on people not coming to you with their problems when you’re the leader. Who are they supposed to turn to help? Understanding the person has comes with little help unless the other person can believe that you know the essence of the issue. Only then can both parties can work on a solution. Also remember that understanding isn’t always confined to facts. Most times, emotional background is more important than facts.

How to Listen with Empathy

Before we talk about empathic listening, you must first know the definition of empathy. Empathy is projecting yourselves into the personality of another person to better understand their emotions and feelings. The listener portrays to the speaker that they understand how they feel about a problem and are interested in what’s being said, without judgment when it comes to empathic listening. The listener portrays this through actions of body language and responses. With this, the listener encourages the speaker to express him/herself without interruption or criticism. The listener doesn’t have to agree. They just have to listen and become a resource for that person.

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