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Ten Practices to Develop Empathy


Ten Practices to Develop Empathy

1. Keep a note of situations in which you felt you were able to demonstrate empathy and a note when you felt you did not. Make a note of missed opportunities to respond with empathy.

2. Become aware of incidents where there may be some underlying concerns that are not explicitly expressed by others.

3. Make a note of possible emotions or feelings that the other person may be experiencing. Keep an open mind and never assume, merely explore the possibilities.

4. Develop a list of questions to ask at your next encounter with that person. Try to make the questions open-ended, that is, questions that can’t be answered by yes or no.

5. Practice listening without interrupting. Wait until the other person is complete with their point of view before offering yours.

6. Avoid being defensive in order to create an open dialogue where possibilities can be explored freely.

7. Allow creative time for people to express opinions and ideas without judgment.

8. Practice active listening: always check out the meaning of what was said with the person speaking. Paraphrasing what was said helps to clear up misconceptions and to deepen understanding.

9. Always bring focus back into the conversation. Remember that optimal effectiveness is achieved by a combination of focus and empathy.

10. Work on achieving an effective balance of focus, goal orientation and empathic listening.

"When we attune to others, we allow our own internal state to shift, to come to resonate with the inner world of another. This resonance is at the heart of the important sense of 'feeling felt' that emerges in close relationships." - Daniel Siegel

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach

Trusted Leadership Advisor

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