What is Empathy?
Empathy is the ability to understand a person by looking at his/her situation, feelings, and thoughts through that person’s perspective i.e. it is the ability to put oneself in somebody else’s shoes.
It is different from showing sympathy (where we express feeling sad for the other person’s situation but cannot imagine ourselves in their situation in order to understand them or help them)
Role of Empathy in Communication Skills
Read these 10 sentences that will help you show empathy to your students, colleagues, and parents of students.
“I would feel the same too in that situation”
“I would be upset if someone talked to me that way too.”
“You must feel like no one even listened to your idea.”
“it’s easy to be fearful at times like this”
“I know you’ve put so much time and effort into this, and it has to be frustrating to see the effort go down”
“I see. Let me summarize: What you’re thinking here is…”
“Tell me what you see as your choices here.”
“I can hear your concern in your voice.”
“Your patience here has been so important.”
“Times of change are hard, and it’s totally normal that you’re feeling anxious about this.”
Tips to show empathy in a conversation:
- Give your full attention
- Listen Mindfully and patiently
- Ask the right questions about their situation
- Remember that doing what “you” think is right to help the other person does not necessarily mean showing empathy but doing what the other person needs is truly showing empathy.