Empathic listening: keys to understanding this skill and why it matters

Empathic listening

These are the characteristics of empathic listening that make it an important skill.

As is well known, hearing is not the same as listening; and in order to achieve a deep understanding of what someone tells us, as well as successful communication, it is necessary to fully engage with the other person, with their specific needs and approaches.

In this sense, empathic listening is an essential element to properly and efficiently relate to our environment: both when dealing with the people around us and also to learn from our mistakes when interacting with the rest of the community. Society, reconsider our point of view and improve as people.

What is empathic listening?

One of the key concepts to take into account when enhancing our social skills is empathy. It is a set of aptitudes and skills that allow us both to recognize emotional states in others and to adapt to them, assuming the value of that set of feelings that, although we do not experience directly, are also of great importance to us when sharing a space with those people.

Thus, being empathetic implies making relatively accurate estimates about what others feel and adopting a constructive attitude towards that psychological reality that we perceive in others, looking for points of connection between our own and those of those people.

With what we’ve seen so far, we can begin to understand what empathic listening consists of; it is about the ability to attend and understand another person actively, also taking into account their feelings, emotions, non-verbal language, and all the implications and subtexts that the message that transmits to us may have.

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This capacity allows us to put ourselves in the place of our interlocutors and deeply analyze both their intentions and their needs, as well as their internal emotional reality: their possible suffering or frustration, what interests them, their motivations, what makes them distrust, etc.

Empathic listening is undoubtedly one of the most necessary social skills to functionally relate to our environment, establish healthy relationships, and establish alliances and synergy dynamics.

In addition to helping us socially with others, empathic listening also exerts a positive influence on ourselves and helps us to improve in a wide variety of personal, emotional, and behavioral aspects since it provides us with information about the way in which others deal with their emotions, their problems, and their projects and illusions.

How does empathic listening help us improve as people?

Relating in an empathic way with our environment and actively listening to other people has very positive effects for the day to day and helps us achieve the best version of ourselves at various levels and both in the short and long term.

Empathic listening is a necessary skill to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and understand the changing dynamics of people and groups of people around us, whether they are our loved ones, co-workers, or superiors in the workplace.

Some of the main benefits of applying it to our lives are the following:

  • It enriches our philosophy of life by leading us to adopt other points of view.
  • It leads us to avoid the struggle of egos and to look for things in common.
  • It’s a good way to understand how context influences people’s emotional states.
  • It is a source of constant intellectual challenges that stimulate us and fuels our personal development.
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Thus, being sensitive to the mental reality of those around us not only on an intellectual level but also on an emotional level is a very necessary skill to respond to possible changes in both the personal and work areas, or even to anticipate ourselves to the needs of our environment, which allows us to adapt successfully to the demands of the day to day and achieve better results at all levels.

How does empathic listening help question our beliefs?

In addition to helping us improve both personally and socially, empathic listening is also a social skill that encourages questioning our own ideas and beliefs and helps us reflect on our way of seeing the world.

This is so because it allows us to put ourselves in the other’s place, value other ways of thinking and alternative ways of conceiving problems and needs, and ultimately, new ways of interpreting the world. This is a very good starting point to enrich our vision of reality, correct mistakes, and anticipate how others can react in certain situations.

Likewise, active listening is a tool that allows you to change a preconceived opinion about other people and go beyond clichés and prejudices by assuming how others think and feel.

In summary

As we have seen, enhancing the skills associated with empathic listening is key to improving our way of relating to personal and professional life and as a tool for personal development and learning. Training in them brings advantages in key moments and also in day today.

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