Listening Empathically

Listening is an art and skill which most people haven't developed. But like any skill, it can be learned with practice.

Developing skillful listening begins with asking the question: what am I listening to? Most of the time, the answer to that question is, that we are listening to the thoughts and judgments that are in our heads. We rarely listen totally empty so that what we hear remains and can be taken in.

When resolving a conflict is essential for two people to listen to each other empathically. Empathy is the ability to share and understand the feelings and thoughts of the another person. It is often expressed as putting oneself in the other person's shoes.

Through empathic listening, you are telling the other person that you understand their problem and how they feel about it. You are saying I am interested in what you are saying and I am not judging you. You are encouraging the other person to fully express themselves free of criticism, agreement, or disagreement.

When initiating a conflict resolution process through Truceworks we are asking you to follow a 5-step process of clarifying and expressing your feelings and needs to each other. The we are asking you to listen to (read) each other's communication and respond.

We are aware that it is often difficult to listen openly to someone who is expressing themselves in a conflict situation. It may be hard not to get defensive and to concentrate on your next response instead of staying focused on what the other person is saying.

If you find you cannot stay focused say so, and try again when you can.

There are many benefits of empathic listening, including that it:

Empathic listening is an essential skill for you to learn to receive and accurately understand the other person's message. Practice empathic listening when you are listening to someone with whom you are not in conflict.