If you want to gain a deeper understanding of the people you talk to, start using empathic listening. This practice is even more effective when you add empathy into the mix.
Good communication is key to success in both your personal and professional life and empathic listening is a vital part of that.
Empathic listening involves validating others’ viewpoints and expressing your compassion, which helps you build strong relationships at work.
In this article, we’ll define empathic listening, discuss why it matters and provide tips for how to do it effectively in your career.
What is empathic listening?
Empathic listening is a type of active listening in which you not only seek to understand the words or message someone is sharing but also the emotions they are feeling.
Empathic listening requires that you put yourself in another person’s shoes and see the world from their perspective.
In order to do this, you must be fully present with the person and be able to suspend judgment.
Empathic listening is different from sympathy, which is when you share another person’s emotions.
When you feel sympathy for someone, you might say “I’m so sorry that happened to you” or “That must be really hard for you.” Empathic listening, on the other hand, is more about trying to understand the other person’s experience.
You might say “Tell me more about what happened” or “It sounds like you were feeling frustrated when that occurred.”
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What are the stages of empathetic listening?
Empathic listening has three key stages:
Stage 1: Pay attention
The first stage of empathic listening is to pay attention to the other person.
This means being fully present and focused on what they are saying, both verbally and non-verbally. It’s important to be aware of both the words and the emotions being communicated.
You can do this by making eye contact, nodding your head and maintaining an open body posture.
Stage 2: Reflect back on what you’ve heard
The second stage is to reflect back on what you’ve heard the other person say. This helps to ensure that you’ve understood them correctly.
It also gives them the chance to clarify anything that they may have misunderstood. When reflecting back, use both verbal and non-verbal cues.
For example, you might say “It sounds like you’re saying…” or “Are you feeling…?”
Stage 3: Respond with compassion
The third stage is to respond with compassion. This is where you express your understanding of the other person’s feelings.
It’s important to be genuine in your response and to avoid offering advice or solutions at this stage. For example, you might say “That sounds really tough” or “I can see how that would be confusing.”
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What are the benefits of empathic listening?
Empathic listening has a number of benefits, both for the person listening and the person speaking. Some of the key benefits include:
It deepens relationships
When you are truly present with someone and genuinely interested in hearing their perspective, it can deepen the connection between you.
The other person will feel valued and respected, which can lead to greater trust and communication.
In any relationship, being able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see things from their point of view is a valuable ability.
Empathic listening can help you build stronger connections and more meaningful relationships with the people in your life.
It builds trust and credibility
When you listen empathetically, people will feel heard and understood. This can build trust and credibility, as they know that you are truly interested in their experience.
In the workplace, this can be especially important for building trust with your team members and clients. It reduces conflict by listening to someone without judging or trying to fix their problem.
It can help you understand yourself better
Empathic listening is not just about understanding other people. It’s also a tool that you can use to gain a greater understanding of yourself. When you listen to someone else, it can give you insights into your own thoughts and feelings.
This self-awareness can be valuable in both your personal and professional life.
It can improve your communication skills
Empathic listening is a key communication skill. By practicing this skill, you can improve the way that you communicate with others.
This can be beneficial in both your personal and professional life. improved communication can lead to greater success in negotiations, team collaboration and customer service.
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When to use empathic listening?
Empathic listening can be used in a variety of situations, both personal and professional. Some examples include:
In your personal life
You can use empathic listening with your partner, family or friends. This can be helpful when you’re trying to resolve a conflict or understand someone’s perspective.
In the workplace
Empathic listening can be used with your co-workers, boss or clients. It can help to build trust, resolve conflict and improve communication.
In counseling or therapy
Empathic listening is a core skill of counselors and therapists. It’s used to understand the client’s perspective and help them feel heard and understood.
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Empathic listening is a communication skill that involves listening to understand another person’s perspective. It has a number of benefits, both for the listener and the speaker.
Empathic listening can deepen relationships, build trust and credibility, and improve communication. It can be used in personal and professional situations.
next time you’re in a conversation, try practicing empathic listening to improve your communication skills.