Empathetic listening–listening for the purpose of understanding–is nothing short of magical.

“Everyone should have a chance to talk to someone without feeling judged.” ~ Student

“I can express myself because I know he cares.” ~ Student

“It’s nice to have someone to talk to who isn’t biased. He doesn’t have an ulterior motive. He’s really become a lifelong friend.” ~Student

BTO mentees frequently express gratitude for being able to “vent” and not feel “judged” by their mentor. Often they express frustration in feeling judged by their peers.

So how do we accomplish this in one hour a week? Take a look at this for a unique tip from Jim Fay:

The Secret…

It has been discovered that people who do a great job as leaders often lead with empathy… they know that if they have to think for even a second to come up with an empathetic statement, it’s too late. One second, and they can revert to what’s natural, which can be anything from criticism, to anger, to immediate problem solving.

Here’s the secret…they have trained themselves to use one and only one empathetic saying or sound. Keeping this sound or short saying on the tip of the tongue eliminates the need for trying to match empathy to the situation.

Fortunately, people are starved for empathy and hearing the same response frequently is not a problem. The brain locks in on the empathy so quickly that it pays little attention to the words. Instead, it locks in on the comforting feeling and the emotional connection that occurs.

Pick an empathetic sound that you like. Be sure that it is one that matches your personality. Be sure that you can say it with true sincerity. There are many effective ones, not limited to:

How sad
Oh, no…
That’s never good
An empathetic grunt (Just a sound)

Empathy connects people together…Empathy gets us out of our narrow, rigid point of view and into the other person’s world. We listen with the intent to understand… Empathy heals…Empathy builds bridges… We enter another’s world, walk in their shoes, see things from their perspective. Understanding brings healing. When students receive validation for their point of view, they feel understood. They no longer feel alone.

Empathetic listening–listening for the purpose of understanding–is nothing short of magical.

You grow and learn about another when you’re willing to put your agenda aside and listen to them.

By keeping your emotions in check, and just remembering that secret empathetic sound, you’re able to fully focus on someone else. This maintains a powerful bridge of communication.

adapted from:
Love and Logic Magic for Lasting Relationships
~Jim Fay and Dr. David B Hawkins

Which relationships in your life could benefit from applying these principles?