listening with empathy

How to Listen with Empathy

When you’re listening to someone, what do you want to happen?

You want to understand.

You want to connect with them.

You want them to feel heard and understood.

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes or imagine what they might be feeling. It is the ability to understand and relate to another person on a deep level, even if you don’t agree with them or understand what they’re saying.

Empathy is not just about listening; it’s about being present, paying attention, and reflecting on what you hear to connect with the other person.

Listening involves more than just hearing what someone says. It also requires that you tune in so that your body and mind fully engage in what they’re saying without distractions or interruptions.

Listening is a skill that can be learned and practiced like any other. It’s one of the essential skills in the world.

We all love to talk, but we gain much more when listening. We learn something new and essential about ourselves through our listening.

When you listen with empathy, you get to know what your friend or family member needs from you and how they feel about their circumstances. You also learn something about yourself as well. You see this as an opportunity to help them get through whatever is troubling them and maybe even make a positive difference in their life. The best part about listening with compassion is that it always feels good.

Empathy requires paying attention to a person’s non-verbal signals and words. It can be not easy if we always seem focused on our thoughts and feelings instead of those of others around us.

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How do you listen with empathy?

  • Be present: Don’t multitask or check your phone during the conversation. If you’re doing something else, like texting or playing a game, be sure to put it down and focus on the person you’re talking to. It means making eye contact and being present at the moment, focusing on their feelings and needs.
  • Check-in with them throughout the conversation: If they seem distracted or don’t seem engaged in what you’re talking about; ask them if they need a break or if there’s something else that might be distracting them from following along with what you’re saying (or even interrupting the conversation). If they seem annoyed or upset by something gone wrong during the interaction, let them know that it’s okay if this happens again so long as it doesn’t occur frequently or repeatedly.
  • Show interest, curiosity, and compassion: Show that you care by being open and receptive to their story, feelings, and values. Ask questions that show that you understand where they are coming from or are interested in hearing more about what they say. Don’t interrupt or talk over them unless necessary to ensure that both parties have a chance to speak their piece.
  • Speak with kindness and respect: Be patient and not judgmental. Listen with your whole heart. Give the person talking the time to speak and let them know it’s okay to stop talking if needed.
  • Don’t interrupt or talk over them: Let the person finish their thoughts before you respond. It will give them a chance to consider what they are saying and allow them to get back on track if needed.
  • Be an active listener: ask questions that show that you are genuinely interested in what the person is saying (and not just what you want to hear). Try to understand their perspective as well – try not to agree or disagree too quickly.

What Are The Four Stages Of Emphatic Listening

The four stages of listening with empathy are:

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1. Observation: This is the stage where you listen to what the other person has to say and what they mean by it. You then try to understand their emotions and motivations behind their actions or words.

2. Understand: Here, you try to determine what your partner means by something he said or did. You also attempt to understand his context and environment so that you can relate to him better.

3. Assertion: In this stage, you state your understanding of the conversation topic and how it relates to yours. You then assert that what you said earlier is right, even though it might differ from what your partner believes in or thinks about the topic.

4. Agreement: It is when both parties agree on something in this conversation or dialogue session that they have been having over time together as a couple or a family unit; it could be an issue or problem that one member of a family has brought up about another member of their family members or even about friends/acquaintances in general.

What does it mean to listen with empathy?

Listening with empathy means understanding what the other person is saying without judging or assuming anything about them. You don’t have to agree with their ideas or find them valid, but you can still accept them as an essential part of who they are.

Empathy means that you hear what someone else is saying, and you understand it. You can’t just hear words; you have to listen with empathy. Your brain processes information from their words when listening to someone and hearing what they’re saying.

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Then your brain makes up stories about what those words mean. It is what happens when you listen without empathy: Your brain hears words, but it doesn’t make up stories about them.

To be more empathetic, you must learn to listen more deeply. You can do this by practicing “active listening,” which involves taking notes on what You hear to remember later what your listener said and why they said it the way they did.

Active listening also helps us understand the speaker’s emotions and motivations behind what they’re saying, which will help us have more empathy in our responses.”

How Can You Practice Listening With Empathy

You can practice listening with empathy by:

  • Try observing someone’s body language while they speak. Look at the speaker’s facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures, and posture. Try to see if there is a change in any of these things when they talk about something personal or emotional rather than just talking about topics related to work or an event that happened long ago.
  • Take notes on what the person has said and what they plan to say next. It will help you focus more on what they are saying instead of trying to remember everything from earlier in the conversation.
  • Listen with an open mind. Don’t interrupt or talk over your speakers when they’re talking about their feelings or getting their thoughts out on paper (or screen). Avoid making judgments or offering advice unless asked for help solving a problem or thinking through a difficult situation. Remember that everyone has their style of expressing emotions and may react differently based on how they feel at any given time.
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Don’t assume that what your partner has said makes sense simply because they said it; listen carefully and ask questions to clarify what they mean if necessary so they’ll feel understood by someone who cares about them.

  • Listen actively. When someone is talking, don’t just listen passively; pay attention to what they’re saying and try to understand why they think or feel the way they do. You might disagree with them or have different experiences, but if you truly understand them, you can empathize with them and make their concerns heard.

Paying attention instead of interrupting or trying to finish their sentences for them (unless you want to). Interrupting someone can make them uncomfortable because it makes them feel like there is something wrong with how they talk or behave in general (even though there probably isn’t).

  • You should listen from the heart. Many people use empathic listening as a tool for helping others solve their problems or make important decisions; however, it can also be used for self-improvement and growth. When listening with an open heart, your brain will process information more quickly and efficiently than when you listen with an analytical mind. You will understand what the other person is saying better if you listen by connecting with yourself on an emotional level, rather than just using logic or reasoning.


Ultimately, listening is not a passive act. It requires the active participation of all parties involved, including you. Empathy is a trait that ranges from being something we’re born with to one that can be taught with practice. In any case, it’s essential to understand how to use it and how it can work for you as a designer.

It’s essential to appreciate the viewpoint of other people. If you can better process why they think and feel the way they do, you’ll be more successful at understanding and communicating with them. Whether this is in a professional or a personal situation, an empathetic attitude will make your interactions with others run much smoother. You’ll save time, energy, and probably even some money. Plus, you’ll go home happier at night.