When it comes to listening, we do it all day long. We listen to music, the news, the
sounds of our environment, and to those we love. Listening is an all day, everyday
thing. Being a good listener is an important trait to have. People gravitate to good
listeners who make them feel understood. Those who stand out most share one thing in
common- their empathy.
Empathy makes all the difference when it comes to being a good listener. Empathy can
take many forms depending on the nature of the conversation. There’s no cookie cutter
way to be empathic but reading the situation and meeting people where they are helps.
Here are some creative ways to use empathy that make all the difference in your
Show empathy with your presence- Some people don’t want or need to have their
problems solved they simply want someone to listen. You can show your empathy by
spending time with someone who needs to process. Simply making yourself available to
listen to someone going through a tough time can make a big impact on their life. Your
willingness to be there for them may be the difference that gets them through.
Show empathy with your stories- Sometimes empathy looks like a personal
connection. Sharing a story that helps people feel understood or connected can make a
big impact. When appropriate, sharing a story of a time you’ve experienced something
similar or solved a similar problem can help people relate and feel less anxious.
Remember, the best use of sharing stories is when it enhances the situation rather than
steals the focus.
Show empathy with your encouragement- When people are stressed it helps to feel
encouraged. Listening to someone and showing empathy for them through
encouragement is a loving thing to do. You may not have all the answers to their
problem but encouraging them can uplift them and give them the strength to do what
they need or face their fears.
Show empathy with your eyes- Non-verbal communication is powerful. Listening
doesn’t just happen with the ears. You can show your empathy for someone by looking
them in the eyes, nodding, uttering understandings, and light touch when appropriate.
Using non-verbal cues that encourage them to keep sharing and show you are listening
Empathy makes all the difference when you truly want to connect and reflect how much
you care. Listening to someone share their concerns, worries, or troubles is one of the
kindest things you can offer. Using empathy enhances the experience for everyone and
helps build healthy communication and lasting relationships.