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This brief YouTube
video overviews "empathic listening". The video mentions eight
lessons in this educational Web site - I've simplified that to seven.:
This is one of a series of articles
in Lesson 2 - learn communication basics and seven powerful
to get more daily needs met more often. Progress with this Lesson
depends on simultaneous progress on Lesson 1 - free your
resident true Self to guide your personality in calm and conflictual
Doing this practice with an open mind can help
you learn more about yourself as a listener - alone, and with special
adults and kids. To get the most
from this practice...
compare these ideas about giving other people
effective feedback to your way.
practice periodically to help strengthen your ability to “hear with your
two copies of this page, and find a partner who shares your interest in
growing communication effectiveness.
Set aside 1at least
30” for this experience, and find a comfortable, undistracted site.
Confirm that each of you is
by your wise, resident
not, invest time in
your Selves to lead this practice, for best results.
facing each other, with comfortable eye contact. Remind yourselves that
your goals are (a) to become more familiar with empathic listening skill, and (b) to practice giving
Consider tape-recording or videoing your practice to expand your
learnings. Another valuable learning option is to
practice soon after
When you both
feel ready and clear what you're about to do, alternate these practice-roles of
speaker and listener:
Pick a safe
subject you feel some energy about now.
Be you! Forget
this is an exercise as much as you can. Talk naturally for 3-5
minutes, expressing your ideas and feelings; then…
awareness skill to
listening partner constructive, specific feedback on:
R(espect)-message you got from them
as they listened (“I’m 1-up," “I’m 1-down,"
or “we’re equal”),
how you got it (words, voice dynamics, and/or nonverbal
How clearly you felt (a) heard, (b)
understood, and (c)
genuinely accepted (vs. judged or ignored) by them - e.g. “On a 1-to-10 scale, I felt...”); Was
"effective communication" for you?
What you noticed about
(a) any changes in your
E(motion)-level as you talked together;
and (b) your partner's
awareness bubble (1-person, 2-person, or no-person) during the practice; And say.....
If you felt interrupted by your
partner's restatements of
your thoughts and feelings; and...
liked about her or his listening style
eye contact, body posture, voice tone, comments, brevity, attitude, focus, timing, ...; and…
Anything specific you feel would improve
Decide to use
empathic listening: i.e. consciously choose to put your views, values,
and needs aside just now. Recall: listening isn’t (necessarily)
Make a silent “Respect check” on how
you honestly feel about your partner’s dignity, worth, and needs
relative to yours, now - genuine mutual respect, or
other. "Other" may indicate a false self controls you.
permission to experiment, feel awkward, and take risks here - try
something different! The goal is learning, not being perfect!
brief verbal insertions (periodically summarizing the speaker’s
thoughts, feelings, and needs) vs.
interruptions (shifting to your agenda);
Make at least three or four
restatements (“insertions”) of your partner's thoughts and feelings as s/he talks (e.g. "You felt / thought /
needed / saw... “).See
Avoid commenting or questioning
the speaker - just restate what you hear, and watch her / his
skill to factually note the speaker's
reaction to each of your restatements without judgment - e.g.
"Yes, and...,"or"No, more like..."
Both are win-win.
Notice any inner
or outer distractions without judgment. If your partner did something
distracting visually or vocally, give them constructive feedback on
partner's feedback without defensiveness
- it's a gift!Option: reflect it back, including
feelings ("So you feel I could listen better if I maintained
steady eye contact.")
Ask for clarification or other observations if you need them.
what you did in this practice (specifically) that was different than your usual
how it felt to try empathic listening, and...
what results you
got from using it. That’s
Identify anything you want to remember from this
Option: write it down.
When you each
feel finished with the first round, change roles and repeat the practice.
Thots / Ideas /
quiz on communication knowledge alone or with your
Consider investing in
the Lesson-2 guidebook Satisfactions - 7
relationship skills you need to know (Xlibris.com, 2nd ed., 2010). It integrates the key
Lesson-2 articles and worksheets in this Web site.
Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you
read this practice? Did you get what you needed? If
not, what do you need? Who's answering these questions - your
Learn something about yourself with this 1-question