Learn techniques to listen with empathy and better connect with other people
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Do You Have Empathy? According to neuroscientist Jean Decety, who teaches and researches at the University of Chicago, everyone has some capacity for empathy because it is hard-wired into our brains. He points out that people often mimic the expressions that they see on someone elses face and that a baby will cry if it hears another babys wails. The fear you feel when you watch a suspense movie is nothing more than your empathy for another human caught in a threatening situation.
You can read more about Dr. Decetys research at the University of Chicago Magazines web site:
University of Chicago: Mirrored Emotion
Learning to Become More Empathetic Empathy might be hard-wired, but some people seem to naturally experience more intense empathy than others. For most people, the problem is showing others that they are empathetic. You might understand the way that someone feels, but you cant necessarily communicate those feelings.
The University of California offers a free hour-long seminar that can be downloaded at
University of California: Listening First Aid
It is divided into 15 separate lessons so that you wont feel overwhelmed by a lot of information at once. Instead, you can take your time by going through the lessons at your own pace to help you learn how to communicate with empathy.
What are the Benefits of Empathy? Learning how to be more empathetic is useful in several ways. For one, it can give you a better understanding of what other people experience. It is important to be able to put yourself in someone elses position if you are going to communicate with them effectively. Otherwise, you are not listening to what someone says. You are just waiting for your turn to talk, which means that you can miss important insights from other people.
Learning better empathetic listening skills can also help you connect with people, which means forming stronger relationships and getting opportunities that might otherwise pass you by. For instance, people with empathetic communication skills are often more persuasive and chosen for higher paying positions than those who seem to lack those skills.
Recommended Books about Empathy
There are several types of books about empathy that are focused to different audiences. Some of them are scientific and difficult for non-professionals, but these recommended books should be able to help you understand more about empathy and learn skills that will enhance your empathetic communication abilities.
- Dibs in Search of Self by Virginia Axline
- We Carry Each Other: Getting through Lifes Tough Times by Mary Beth Sammons, Eric Langshur, and Sharon Langshur
- The Power of Empathy: A Practical Guide to Creating Intimacy, Self-Understanding, and Lasting Love by Arthur Ciarmicoli and Katherine Ketcham
- Listening with Empathy: Creating Genuine Connections with Customers and Colleagues by John Selby