Empathy is one of the most complex emotions that you can feel. In fact, in a lot of cases, empathy exists just in the manner of speaking. Although it is a highly talked about feeling, how many can actually put themselves in another person’s shoe and imagine what the other person is going through? Often, in an attempt to be empathetic, people end up being sympathetic. However, if you genuinely want to make a difference to a person’s life, especially when he undergoes emotional trauma, you need to show empathy.
Soft skill training can be very helpful in giving you that extra push towards understanding others more deeply.
What exactly is empathy?
Empathy is defined differently by different people. The most concise definition is to go through, albeit virtually, the same pain, trauma or emotion that the other person is going through. So, in essence, it means sharing a person’s sorrow and letting them let out steam about a tragedy instead of offering lame condolences or meaningless pep talks. Sometimes, all that a person requires is an ear to share things that weigh heavily on his mind. Be supportive. Give him an ear and that is empathy. However, you need to put yourself through soft skill training in order to learn how to communicate with empathy because it usually does not come naturally.
How to communicate with empathy?
Here are some aspects of communicating with empathy that a soft skill training program will teach you.
- Encourage the person to speak out his mind and listen to him without being judgmental.
- Do not draw conclusions, offer false consolations or interrupt the person while he opens up to speak.
- Do not let your mind or attention wander. Be genuinely concerned about what the person is saying.
- Assure your friend that you can comprehend what he is going through. Assert, clarify and repeat certain things to strengthen his conviction that you are in tune with what he is trying to say
- Understand the fact that your friend wants to be understood. So, as he speaks, imagine the scenario from his perspective to understand what he is exactly undergoing.
- Hold your friend’s hand or give him a hug. It communicates your empathy without the need of words and shows that you understand his state of mind.
- Avoid clichéd phrases such as “I know what you are going through,” “You do not have to feel bad about it” and “Things are going to get better.”
With soft skill training, you can learn to empathize with people and this helps you communicate better not just at the workplace, but in all your interactions.