About Empathic Listening ("Hearing Checks")

      One of seven powerful communication skills you can learn is "hearing with your heart": putting your values, needs, and preferences aside for the moment, and trying to empathically sense what your communication partner thinks, feels, needs, and perceives now without judgment. Periodically summarize these (a) with good eye contact, (b) in a few words or senten-ces (one is best), and then note what your partner does.

        If s/he nods and/or says something like "Uh huh..." or "Yeah, and..." you've demonstrated that you're hearing your partner well, vs. saying "I hear you." Avoid asking questions, subject changes, and the pronoun "I." Using this skill does not (necessarily) mean you agree with the speaker! Used respect-fully with an agitated adult or child, this skill will often help their emotions subside so they can hear you. See online Lesson 2 in this nonprofit Web site for more on learning and applying all seven communication skills.

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