Emphatic Listening

October 4, 2013

Emphatic listening is similar to generative listeningWhen I was working at CoCo, a collaborative work space in Minneapolis, my table-mate John said to me, “I have been an emphatic talker my whole life and now it’s time for me to become an emphatic listener.” The term got me thinking. What does it mean to be an emphatic listener–to listen with emphasis? Is this simply another way to say generative listening?

Active listening involves repeating what’s been said–as a way to assure the speaker that you’re generatively listening and a way to process the information yourself. To my mind, emphatic listening is how you behave and think while the other person is speaking. It’s how you concentrate on what’s being said.

Here are 5 ways to be an emphatic listener:

1) Don’t judge what others are saying while they are saying it. When you’re having a casual conversation with a friend, it’s easy to slip into judging mode. While they explain something, your internal voice/judge is thinking: yep, nope, maybe, no, absolutely yes. If you’re judging, though, you’re not listening fully. You’re not listening emphatically.

2) Quiet your predictive impulses and stay attuned to the others’ words and meaning. People are prediction machines. Our minds race to the end of what others are saying before they can even complete their thoughts. As a result, we stop listening mid-thought, interrupt mid-sentence and finish the thought for them out loud, or simply finish it in our minds.

3) Find a connection. People are meaning-making machines. We want to understand and draw connections. When we don’t understand something, our brains race to make associations. If we can’t find one, we don’t retain what we’ve heard and become easily distracted. We stop listening. If you can’t find a connection, ask the speaker to pause and help you find one.

4) Put aside your objections. If what is being said makes you uncomfortable or goes against your beliefs or values, don’t stop listening. Listening doesn’t presume agreement. If you listen emphatically, others will listen to you. They will be in a better position to listen to your objections when they’re done speaking.

5) Stay emotionally grounded. Your emotions are like a fog horn over your ability to truly hear what another is saying. To be an emphatic listener, you must silence that emotional noise. Often the most important words are said faintly and they will go missed if your fog horn is sounding.

How are you doing at emphatic listening or generative listening?Emphatic Listening

CO2 Coaching: Nurturing Empathic Listeners in the Business World

At CO2 Coaching, we recognize the profound impact of generative and emphatic listening on entrepreneurial success. It’s not just about hearing words; it’s about understanding the deeper meaning and connecting on a more significant level. This skill is crucial for entrepreneurs who must navigate complex conversations and relationships.

Take Your Listening Skills to the Next Level with CO2 Coaching

We invite you to explore how CO2 Coaching can enhance your listening skills, a vital component of effective communication and leadership. Whether you’re at the helm of a startup or scaling your business in Minneapolis, mastering emphatic listening can transform your interactions and decision-making processes.

Ready to Amplify Your Entrepreneurial Journey?

Connect with us at CO2 Coaching. Schedule a session with our managing partners and discover how becoming an emphatic listener can elevate your entrepreneurial endeavors. Let’s embark on this journey of growth and understanding together.

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