People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”Maya Angelou
This quote by Maya Angelou defines the meaning of empathy for me.
The definition of empathy is the ability to understand things from another person’s perspective. It is the ability to share someone else’s feelings and emotions and understand why they have those feelings.
In my mind, I have been able to achieve empathy if I connect with someone on such a level that I understand their feelings. I also need to leave them with good, positive feelings they will not forget.
How wonderful it would be if we could all connect on such a high level, that we all walked away, feeling better, and remembering how we felt.
Empathy is essential in all aspects of life, both in our personal lives and at work. It helps us understand how others are feeling so we can respond appropriately to the situation.
Empathetic people are more generous and concerned with the well being of others. They usually have stronger and happier relationships, and tend to be happier themselves.
At work, if you are empathetic, your communication skills will be more skilled. You will be better able to understand both coworkers and customers. You will be better at understanding the motivations and fear of your coworkers.
Here are tips to help you increase your ability to communicate and be empathetic.
Smile. So simple to do and so effective. When you share a genuine smile with someone, they will automatically feel better and so will you.
Acknowledge other people by knowing their name and using it to have interactions with them as often as possible. I remember having a boss who would not even hold a door for an employee and rarely used someone’s name. He had a very negative affect. A small gesture makes someone feel good and can have a significant impact on building rapport.
We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.”Carl Rogers
Learn and use non-verbal communications with everyone. Studies show that a high percentage of our communication is through our body language. Learn to be aware of the messages you give off when talking to an individual or a group. What you say should be 100% in tune with what your actions are showing.
You should also be able to understand the body language of others. A one on one conversation, or a group, there is much being said when no one is speaking. When you are in a group of people, it can be enlightening to watch and see the interactions of others.
Recognize the achievements of others. It feels so good when someone gives a compliment or acknowledges that you have done a great job. Recognizing someone’s abilities does not happen enough, and it can have such a positive effect.
Practice having meaningful conversations with people. There is a tendency today not to communicate one on one and for conversations to be superficial. The use of cell phones, email, and social media has changed how we interact. It is challenging to practice empathy when we no longer take the time to talk face to face. When was the last time you had a real conversation?
Being empathetic is a combination of skills that we should be familiar with, and hopefully, practice. It is a connection with yourself, your emotions, and your feelings. It is also the ability to be able to connect with the emotions and feelings of others.
It will be easy for some and difficult for others, but it can be a learned skill. The most crucial piece of the puzzle is wanting to and being able to make a connection with others.
Practice by spending some time actively watching and listening. Be there in the moment and think about how you feel, what reaction you have. Then take it a step further by imagining the opinions and feelings of other people in the room.
We all have our assumptions and beliefs and it is too easy to make judgments. We need to be able to see why other people have views different than ours. We also need to acknowledge and respect their right to those feelings. We should be able and open to having a conversation. Talking and asking questions should be the most straightforward and most direct path to understanding and empathy.
Empathy is being able to see things, big and little, from different perspectives. Small actions practiced every day will develop a reputation for being caring, trustworthy, and approachable. So go ahead, smile, use people’s names, give others your full attention. Be interested in their lives and what they do, give encouragement and recognition for a job well done.
Power Of Empathy
I’m in it with you. I’m not here to fix you. I’m not here to feel it for you. I’m here to feel with you and let you know you are not alone.”~ Dr. Brene Brown
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a great day!