Essay On Empathic Listening

With practice, you can learn to respond first with a simple acknowledgment.As you do this, you may find that, figuratively speaking, you can give your conversation partners half of what they want, even if you can’t give them all of what they want. In order to get more of your conversation partner’s attention in tense situations, pay attention first: listen and give a brief restatement of what you have heard (especially feelings) before you express your own needs or position.

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This mutual acknowledgment can create an emotional atmosphere in which it is easier to work toward agreement or more gracefully accommodate disagreements.

Here are three examples of acknowledgments that do not imply agreement: In each case a person’s listening to and acknowledgment of his or her conversation partner’s experience or position increases the chance that the conversation partner will be willing to listen in turn.

The examples given above are all a bit long and include a declaration of the listener’s position or decision.

In many conversations you may simply want to reassure your conversation partner with a word or two that you have heard and understood whatever they are experiencing.

Acknowledging another person’s thoughts and feelings does not have to mean that you approve of or agree with that person’s actions or way of experiencing, or that you will do whatever someone asks.

By listening and then repeating back in your own words the essence and feeling of what you have just heard, from the speaker’s point of view, you allow the speaker to feel the satisfaction of being understood, (a major human need).Listening responsively is always worthwhile as a way of letting people know that you care about them.Our conversation partners do not automatically know how well we have understood them, and they may not be very good at asking for confirmation.For example: “So you were really happy about that…” “So you drove all the way over there and they didn’t have the part they promised you on the phone. “Sounds like you wanted a big change in that situation…” “Wow. You must be feeling really terrible…” The point here is to empathize, not to advise.If you added to that last statement, “That total SLOB!!! People need to pay for their mistakes, etc.”, you would be taking over the conversation and also leading the person away from her or his feelings and toward your own.Other suggestions about listening more responsively: As a general rule, do not just repeat another person’s exact words. But in cases where people actually scream or shout something, sometimes you may want to repeat a few of their exact words in a quiet tone of voice to let them know that you have heard it just as they said it.If the emotion is unclear, make a tentative guess, as in “So it sounds like maybe you were a little unhappy about all that…” The speaker will usually correct your guess if it needs correcting.For example, saying, “You sound really happy [or sad] about that,” etc.As you listen to the important people in your life, give summaries of the experiences they are talking about and name the want or feeling that appears to be at the heart of the experience., “studies in labor-management negotiations demonstrate that the time required to reach conflict resolution is cut in half when each negotiator agrees, before responding, to repeat what the previous speaker had said.” (my emphasis) When people are upset about something and want to talk about it their capacity to listen is greatly diminished.Trying to get your point across to a person who is trying to express a strong feeling will usually cause the other person to try even harder to get that emotion recognized.


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