In our frantic "every second counts" world, taking a moment to listen empathetically can seem unnecessary or a poor use of time. But empathetic listening can save time. When people believe that we truly understand their frustrations, they stop repeating themselves, trying to "make us understand."
As we listen empathetically, we acknowledge what we hear -- both verbal and nonverbal messages.
Try an experiment. Listen deeply (especially if someone is upset) and watch for subtle (or sometimes large) shifts in the conversation. Voices raised in anger (a symptom of trying to be heard) often soften to normal levels. The speaker (a customer, colleague, spouse, or child) may stop repeating their complaint and move from being stuck in the problem to focusing on solutions. © 2013 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved