Listen and Respond with Empathy

In the last post, I emphasized EMPATHY for a successful negotiations. Today, I want to take that further to say that “empathy” is important in almost all forms of human interaction. DDI Global, a leading management training group, identifies five key principles to effective communication with your employees:

  • Maintain or enhance self-esteem
  • Listen and respond with empathy
  • Ask for help and encourage involvement
  • Share thoughts, feelings, and rationale
  • Provide support without removing responsibility

As I’ve tried to incorporate these key principles into my daily interactions, I’ve received the best feedback from the first two principles. These two are applicable regardless of who you are communicating with, and can be used everyday.

Maintain or Enhance Self-Esteem: People need to feel respected and have a sense of self-worth. When they do, they are more likely to be motivated and committed to their work. When maintaining or enhancing self-esteem, make sure to be specific and sincere. Don’t leave any doubt in people’s minds – make sure they know exactly what you’re recognizing. Sincerity is also critical. People can quickly spot false praise, so don’t offer a complement if you don’t honestly mean it.

Listen and Respond with Empathy: Listening increases your understanding of how others feel and is a powerful way to build trust and improve communication. It’s only when you respond with empathy, however, that people know you understand both how they are feeling and why. The following tactics are effective ways to use empathy in communication:

  • Defuse negative emotions
  • Show others that you care
  • Respond to both facts and feelings