By On January 31st, 2008

Empathetic listening is important in both personal and professional relationships

Being an empathetic listener is important in both personal and professional relationships, not only because of the relational consequences that you may suffer from not showing empathy but also because people are valuable and simply need to be treated as important. Ask yourself; do you really put effort and concentration into listening? How does it make you feel when others are not truly listening to you?

Sometimes people are just too busy to demonstrate empathetic listening, or perhaps one has simply never considered what it means to be a good listener. Either way, the consequences of not being an empathetic listener can be devastating. Personal relationships can suffer or ultimately end. Professional relationships can suffer causing distrust, decreased productivity, and poor morale. So then, knowing that we need to be good listeners, just what does it mean to be empathetic? The following is an excerpt of an article from Advance Magazine that discusses some practical tips on empathetic listening:

What does it mean to be empathetic? It means to stand in someone else’s shoes and look at life from their reference point. For that moment, you attempt to look at and assess the situation through their eyes. It does not mean that you must agree, simply that you understand what they are saying and how they are feeling. When you can relate to another at this level, you respect them as a human being. And it is this need that people have to feel respected-for simply being alive, for having thoughts and ideas and a perspective-that lessens people’s fear of insignificance. It makes people feel important when you show them that they matter simply by listening to them.

Communication is a powerful tool, perhaps the most powerful tool we have as human beings. It has the power to hurt or heal, hinder or help, tear down, tear apart, or bring together. Only 7 percent of communication is verbal. This means, it is what you say when you are not speaking that matters most. This includes your actions, body language, and presence-how you show up in the world through your attitude, mood, and energy-as well as how you do what you do, how you say what you say, and your ability to listen to understand.

Here are 3 steps to mastering the skill of listening:

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