[you think] the speaker is about to say.
7. Do not dwell on one or two points at the expense of others.
8. Delay judgment until you have heard everything.
9. Be objective.
10. Do not be trying to think of your next question while the other person is still giving information.
Empathic listening involves attempting to understand the feelings and emotions of the speaker. The pre-requisite for empathetic listening is, empathy!
Empathy is the ability to see the world as another person does, to share and understand another person’s feelings, needs, concerns and/or emotional state.
Empathy is largely dependent on high emotional intelligence, and even if you don’t have much of either, the good news is it can be learned if you are self-aware and interested.
Empathy is not the same as sympathy, it involves more than being compassionate or feeling sorry for somebody else – it involves a deeper connection – a realization and understanding of another person’s point of view. It also is enhanced with real experience: to have actually experienced the same situation as the other generates true empathy.
Empathetic listening is a selfless act – it enables us to learn more about the person we are dealing with and the nature of the relationship. Phrases such as ‘I understand what you are going through’ (if it’s true), accompanied by friendly supportive facial expressions, even touch, imply empathy – it helps form a state of connection with another person or group of people.
To listen empathetically you must try to put yourself into the speaker’s shoes and share their likely experience, thoughts and feelings. It requires patience, lots of patience. To listen empathetically you have to suspend your cognitive brain and resist driving to solutions while the other is still trying to get their story out. (This may be especially hard for men to do, apparently.) Empathetic listening is perhaps the most advanced of all communication skills. Even if you lack deep empathetic listening skills – as a therapist might – a little goes a long way.
So if you expect to communicate with tact and diplomacy hone your listening skills, active, and especially empathetic.
If you are interested in exploring these ideas further AFS Consulting has a program for you delivered in one-on-one coaching modality: Mastering the Art of Tact and Diplomacy. Check it out here: https://afsconsulting.ca/executive-coaching/communicating-with-tact-diplomacy/