By Mia Zamora
1. Listen. Sometimes we are too concerned about saying the right thing or getting our own point across that we forget to really listen and tune in to what the other person is saying, and how he or she is feeling. Let go of the need to have all the answers and be open to truly listening and allowing the person to express what they really want to say.
2. Understand that we are all different. What may seem like the “right” thing to do for you may not be right for the other person, because you do not have the same circumstances nor background. So when making a management decision, for example, let’s consider that not everyone is in the same boat and try to be as inclusive and considerate as possible.
3. Be sincere. Empathy is not about showing concern, it is about being concerned. Do your words and your actions match? It is one thing to say you support employee health and wellness and quite another to really create an environment of support for your team.
4. Avoid distractions. In this hyper connected world, this is a challenge, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to have meaningful conversations. Put away your mobile and your laptop while you are talking to someone. This gesture conveys that they are important to you and that you are investing time and attention on them.
5. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. It is uncomfortable, it is difficult, but it is necessary if we really want to be empathetic. Try to see things from their perspective and suspend judgment.
There are specific techniques you can use to really carry out an empathetic conversation. Learn and practice them at our workshop “Communicating with Empathy” on May 6!