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Have you ever come across people who tend to make you feel calm and at peace within no time? Have you ever wondered what is it about them that gives you a way to open up and pour your heart out? Why are they the ones who come into your mind, with whom you drag the heaviness on your shoulders by unloading the burden?
These people have a skill called EMPATHIC LISTENING that makes people comfortable around them and gives some the ability to unburden their troubled minds.
This article precisely covers what empathic listening skill is and how it can be learned or improved.
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What is Empathic Listening & Empathic Listening Skills?
For those who don’t know, empathic listening is the skill of understanding the person sharing his struggles with the liberty to voice his opinions without you being judgmental. It offers a therapeutic value to the person speaking merely by lending an empathetic ear to the person struggling.
Empathic listening skill neither deals with conflict nor debate; it’s all about triumphing over your self for others.
Empathy- A Keystone of Human Interactions
In this mechanic mode of life, everyone seems to be running after the worldly matter. It has become very difficult for many of us to practice patience and listen to others. Empathic listening skill is, perhaps, not easy to master owing to our reactive and judgmental approaches.
We are good at jumping to conclusions without even listening completely. We prefer talking to listening because we are void of the stamina to uplift people’s burden by eagerly listening to them. It’s hard to do but not impossible to do. It’s all about the needs, opinions, ideas, and feelings of the person speaking and not about the person spoken to.
If you want to be empathetic, be a good listener. Understanding rather than criticizing, and comforting rather than judging, can mold the conversation in the favor of the person talking and help him alleviate his pain. This signifies the quality of interaction as it brings you to other people’s pace and frequency with the result that you resonate with them emotionally.
Therefore, each one of us should strive to practice the empathic listening skill to contribute our mite to the society we live in.
Benefits of Empathic Listening
Knowing the advantages, render this listening skill a worthy endeavor.
Acquiring empathic listening skill renders you humane towards others like it:
- Bridges two people together and also builds trust and respect
- Fosters effective communication
- Mitigates tension by relieving stress
- Creates a conducive environment by unlocking a door to the inner universe of others
- Helps people become loyal, sincere, and compassionate towards each other
- Inculcates patience
It is noteworthy that by turning empathetic to someone doesn’t mean you have to be in line with the opinions of the person opening up his heart. It’s just a way to better understand others’ perspectives by walking in their shoes with an open mindset.
To our dismay, not all of us are inherently empaths. However, by patience and consistent practice, one can acquire the empathic listening skill.
10 Strategies to Gain Empathic Listening Skill
- It’s not about you
Whenever you wish to turn an empathetic ear to someone, you need to fathom that it’s not about you, your ideas and opinions. Though it could be really hard to set aside your needs for someone else’s needs this is something manageable. Before considering yourself to be an empath, try to connect emotionally with the concerned individual.
- Listening instead of hearing
Empathic listeners focus on listening rather than hearing and talking. A good listener intends to be all ears to the other person’s story. It’s an active process demanding you to remain engaged and composed.
Fundamental to listening, Stephen Covey has rightly quoted: “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”
- Avoid distractions
Living in this digital era has consequently made us adopt unpleasant habits. We remain glued to our cell phones being oblivious to our surroundings. Too often we try to do multitasking by listening to someone in front of us and answering our phones at the same time. This practice is futile because this way we lose sight of the person in pain opening his inner window for us.
- Don’t be judgmental
You must be mindful of the speaker’s perspective without giving voice to your own opinions.
Acknowledging the viewpoints of other people enables you to help them in the hour of distress. Just don’t fly to conclusions and let other people know that you care about them and they matter to the world.
Not to be judgemental is one of the hard things to exercise. If you cannot get over your habit of judging others for no good reason, you’ll be making a futile attempt to gain empathic listening skills.
- Refrain from criticism
Being an active listener, never criticize, evaluate, or pass negative remarks upon listening to someone’s story. It might happen with you that other people’s problems may be trivial for you, but remember, your goal is to cater to the person’s needs emotionally. Criticism might end up in incomplete stories, which makes it difficult for the two people in discourse to establish trust and a healthy relationship.
- Focus on your body language
As all of us are aware of the fact that body language plays a pivotal role in any sort of interaction. Your verbal and non-verbal communication defines your attitude towards someone or something.
Postures and gestures hold paramount importance as they help connect or disconnect people, making it somewhat troublesome for you to be empathetic with someone if your actions and gestures are defensive and offensive.
- Ask open-ended questions
Try to create a safe environment for the person to open up. Sometimes, people hesitate to share when it comes to their problems. Here, you need to give them a soft push by throwing questions that create a worth sharing atmosphere.
- Paraphrase speaker’s perspective
You need to be reflective because reflection allows the other person to know that you’ve heard and understood correctly. Paraphrasing and restating the speaker’s words allow him/her to dig to deeper levels of expression.
- Avoid giving advice when listening
In an attempt to establish a connection with someone emotional and trustworthy, never offer unintended advice. Just listen carefully and do not break the momentum of the conversation by giving a piece of advice for free.
- Avoid ‘filling up’ silence
Moments of silence do tend to make us feel awkward during any specific conversation but it’s a powerful tool to gauge someone’s input and reactions. Never respond abruptly to break moments of silence.
- Follow up
Fully empathize with the person and set up another meeting, if and only required.
FAQs on Empathic Listening Skills:
What are Empathic Listening Skills?
It is a skill to pay attention to someone’s thoughts or views with empathy. You may say that the basic principle of it is to “seek to understand, before being understood.
What goal of an empathic listener?
An empathic listener tries to keep the speaker speak off his/her internal feelings without interrupting or arguing with that person of what is being said without any dispute.
What is the difference between intensive and empathic listening?
An empathic listener is the one who has the ability to imagine what someone else is feeling while the goal of intensive listening is to focus on just certain detail. it is a kind of listening to you do in the classroom.
How can I improve my empathic listening skills?
You can follow the following tips, be consistent while eye contacting with the speaker. Adopt an open posture. Show that you are a good listener while giving him a good gesture i.e nodding.
To sum up, mastering empathic listening skills cultivates patience and establishes authentic and long-lasting relationships. By putting aside your views for being an empath for someone, people will gravitate around you to seek help and ease their soul from the burden.