Empathic listening skills will make you a better communicator

As a life coach empathic listening is one the most important skills I can offer to my clients. Being able to truly listen to what people say and being able to understand what they think and how they feel will enable me to ask the right questions; helping my clients get insight and make the necessary changes they are looking for. Empathic listening is essential for any coaching process.

When people talk about personal development they often say they want to improve things like self-confidence, communication skills or how to set goals efficiently. But what is often overlooked is being able to listen to others, empathic listening; listening to truly understand. Quite some people forget this, maybe thinking this it is not important, but to me it is one of the most essential parts of my own personal effectiveness.

Communication with others, learning to speak is important but without learning to listen first we will not make any progress and are setting ourselves up for miscommunication and misunderstandings. If you want to be a better communicator you should learn the art of effective listening.

There are two ways of listening, listening to others and listening to ourselves. Both are ways of emathic listening and both are important:

Listening to others

Being able to truly listen to others enables us to interpret what is being said and meant by them. We do this by listening to the words they speak, their tone of voice and paying attention to their body language. This means we have to listen fully consciously to what is being said, and give others enough time to talk.

Often we listen to others just waiting to take over the conversation at every possible opportunity without waiting, and listening, till they are finished talking. Without listening and understanding first you cannot add anything meaningful to the conversation as you are only trying to control it. Communication is a two-way process. This is what I mean with empathic listening.

We also have to be aware of our own interpretation as all information entering our brain is being filtered by our own sub-conscious mind, see take charge by making conscious decisions. It is always wise to give short feedback to the other person of what you think is being said and then ask if yours is the correct interpretation. Unfortunately, we cannot read the mind of others so we need to ask if our interpretation is the right one.

When you do this you will see that your communication skills will improve dramatically. Good and empathic listening skills will make you a better communicator.

Listening to ourselves

So far we discussed how to listen to others, but what about listening to ourselves? We often neglect our own inner voice, our intuition. Humans have a build in guiding system, our feelings, so why not use it? Why not use it for empathic listening to ourselves. What’s good for us usually generates a happy or positive feeling while things that are bad for us will result in negative ones. But how often do we allow ourselves to feel and act accordingly?

Listening to ourselves means we have to listen to the signals our body is giving us. Trust our gut feeling so to say. When you are tired and have a headache, what do you do? Take a pill and continue working, or do you listen to your body and take some rest?

As mentioned in find inspiration from the power of doing nothing we need to set aside plenty of time to be silent, for the signal to come through. We also need to get out of our head and make contact with our body, to feel it. Only then, when our inner voice shuts down, can we get inspired, can we feel what our body is telling us.

1 comment… add one

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *