Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Empathy: Listening and Paying Attention

"The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy." -- Meryl Streep

Empathy is one of our greatest interpersonal skills because it allows us to have better communication with people around us and increases our understanding of others. We know empathy can simply mean to "put ourselves in the other person’s shoes," but it can also mean to take an active role in getting to know the people around you and treating them with the respect they deserve.

Listening and Paying Attention

We all know that there is a difference between hearing and listening, yet we still seem to confuse the two when we communicate with other people. Listening is considered a skill, so like any other skill, it must be implemented and strengthened. Listening allows for you to understand what the person is talking about and register what they are trying to communicate. Building better listening skills starts with learning to pay attention when someone speaks and actively listening to what they are saying. Key tips to help accomplish this are to give your attention to the person by facing them and making eye contact. Turn off any cell phones or pagers or remove any item from the area that can distract you and make you lose focus. You’ll find that you will catch more of what the person is saying and be able to retain more. Paying attention and building better listening skills can show support for the other person and build rapport with them.

Tips for better listening skills:

• Remove any distractions

• Make eye contact with the person speaking

• Nod your head periodically as appropriate

• Ask for follow-up details or information

• Ask the person to repeat anything you may have missed

Until next time ...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

No comments: