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Hello all, a new post by a new guest is coming your way. Today we have @Lymoon (lemon in English). You may know him from his always smart and funny Twitter account. @Lymoon is a dear friend of mine and a man with quite an experience in the fields of engineering and management.
In this remarkable post he is talking about a skill we all need, on professional and personal levels alike, he is talking about how to ‘listen’ … truly listen!
I am sure you will enjoy this post, and hey, if life gives you @Lymoon, you better read his post carefully
Does the guy in front of you keep talking! Repeating himself/herself over and over again! You think he/she is stupid! Well, it’s a possibility, but most probably they didn’t feel that they have been listened to. That is why I wanted to talk to you about empathic listening. Empathic listening will help you with the employees you supervise, your boss, your talkative friends, and even with your wife.
Empathic listening is conveying the message to whomever talking to you that you actually heard them, you already paid attention to what they were saying. It is simple, just practice it, this is what you have to do:
- First let them speak about the situation.
- Identify their feelings.
- When they are done (yeah I mean don’t interrupt), reframe what they said stating their feelings.
Ok ok here are some examples:
- Sentence: I am fed up with my work - Empathic: So, you are upset because things have changed at work.
- Sentence: I am so not going out in this streets of Jeddah - Empathic: You feel angry when people do not drive in an organized manner.
- Sentence: I felt so alive after the seminar I gave - Empathic: you felt valued and satisfied because the seminar added value to many people.
Yep it is that simple. To make it easier for engineers (my beloved geek universe savers) here it is in a formula:
Sentence = “You feel” + F + “because” + S + A
F: feeling; angry, upset, energetic, happy, …
S: subject; work, traffic, spouse, boss, sister, …
A: action done by subject; environment changed, not organized, ignores you, satisfies you, respect you, …
However, I have to warn you about the don’ts: do not be JUDGMENTAL and do not ask questions, just repeat. It might go like this: oh you lose your temper in the traffic! Then, of course you start unsolicited advice; control yourself man!
One more thing, empathic listening is really hard when you are under attack. The fight-and-flight mode kicks in and you start defending yourself, if not attacking back. At this situation my advice is to remember that it is about the speaker not about you and focus on the process (listen, repeat with feelings). Basically, shift your focus from defending yourself to thinking of how to reframe what you’ve heard. For example, attacking wife: you don’t know how to plan your drive! Empathic husband: it upset you that I got you lost on the way, which will make you late for your friend’s party. How sweet is that :”)
Steven Covey pointed that out in his book of the seven habits; seek first to understand then to be understood. Empathize with others first then they will listen to you.
Finally, this is just an appetizer, more ways can be found on the web, knock yourself out with these references: