What does it mean to listen sympathetically? And tips for teaching students to listen empathetically

Listening sympathetically means paying attention and responding to the input of others during the conversation.

Listening sympathetically means establishing an emotional connection with the person in front of you and finding similarities between their experience and yours so that you can respond more sincerely. Also called “active listening” or “reflective listening”, you need to consider the other party’s input to listen sympathetically. One of the hallmarks of empathetic listening is giving support and encouragement rather than advice or criticism.

Precisely, listening sympathetically means establishing a connection. It happens when you consciously reduce things and try to understand the inner world of others, that is, you try to understand first before you understand. Listening sympathetically means understanding what the other person is saying किंवा or saying no आणि and intending to relate to them on a human level.

Empathetic listening is the equivalent of active listening. Both types of listening require close attention to the other person in order to better understand them. But unlike active listening, empathetic listening emphasizes understanding the other person’s emotional experience. Where active listening can create a list of action items, empathetic listening focuses on a stronger connection between teammates and a clear understanding of the other person’s needs, motivations, and perceptions.

Listening sympathetically tells you to go beyond what is being said and to know someone’s emotional experience to reveal why and how it is being said — and be empathetic about it. This kind of listening goes beyond the literal and beyond what is said to the emotions below.

By listening sympathetically, you can create a space where others feel safe, laying the groundwork for open and honest communication between the speaker and the listener.

How to teach your students to listen empathetically?

Here are some tips and strategies you can use to help your students become empathetic listeners.

Teach them:

Develop good listening habits

To teach students to listen empathetically, you must first develop good listening habits. You can start by teaching your students these essential listening habits:

  • Let the speaker speak. Don’t cut them.
  • Try not to say, “I know how it feels.”
  • Show your interest in what is said.
  • Make sure you understand what the person is saying.
  • When someone is talking, try not to think about what you are going to say.
  • Don’t judge what that person is telling you.
  • Keep your mind open

Listen and understand

Even if we disagree, the sympathetic listener should listen patiently. Sentences such as “I understand” or “I see” must be rejected or accepted, but not agreed upon.

Try to visualize the speaker’s feelings and remember the given emotional content and the literal meaning of the words.

Use the “reflection” approach, which means think of yourself as a mirror. See how you would feel if you were a speaker. Afterwards, return the speaker’s thoughts and feelings to them. Encourage the speaker to continue the message, do not interrupt.

Unlike most listeners who respond, try to understand the listener and then come to a conclusion. Don’t look for opportunities to respond with someone’s thoughts and opinions. This may not be very comforting because it makes us respond based on our thoughts and feelings, not understanding what the speaker is trying to convey. Also, it is important to pay attention to the speaker’s thoughts and feelings and to understand the problem from the speaker’s point of view in order to listen sympathetically.

Learn the steps of empathetic listening

There are four steps to listening sympathetically; We need to teach you how to practice these things:

Step 1: Copy what is said: Repeat what you want to say to better understand. Repeat in the same way you think you heard it.

Step 2: Repeat what you hear: Repeat the spoken word without adding anything.

Step 3: Contemplate this notion as you interact with your neighbors.

Step 4: Repeat what you heard and think about the feelings:

This combines steps two and three to understand the message.

Get rid of misunderstandings

To be a sympathetic listener, you need to understand and avoid misunderstandings. Although it takes a long time to listen sympathetically, it does not take time and effort to clear up misunderstandings. A misunderstanding usually arises when one person does not fully understand the meaning or purpose of another person’s words or actions. In other words, the message to be sent is not the same as the message received.

The problem with misunderstandings is that you can’t begin to correct a misunderstanding unless you understand it. Listening sympathetically can help prevent misunderstandings. Teach your students that the more they listen to others, the less confusion they will have.

Not to be non-judgmental

It’s not always easy, but letting go of your own opinion allows you to focus on the other person’s point of view. Recognizing someone’s opinions and feelings helps you to help them. This does not mean that you have to agree with everything the person says; It’s about letting them know you care, they need it.

An essential part of listening empathetically is to refrain from criticizing one another, be it loud or self. You may disagree with what the speaker says, but consider the reasons why they say it.

Understand that just need to listen

As mentioned earlier, to become a sympathetic listener you need to listen carefully. Indicates a state of mind free, calm and relaxed from the desire to “solve” or solve their problems. It does not involve giving advice or interfering in any way. If our mind is preoccupied with finding a solution for the speaker, we fail to hear the truth. In this way, you should teach students to understand the speaker or his / her intent behind the conversation.

Respond with acceptance

Excellent and attentive listeners are encouraged to understand how others feel and their experiences have influenced them rather than expressing their thoughts and opinions. Pepper in reassuring body language like eye contact, nodding and other appropriate signs to get your attention without interruption. The sincere interest and concern of the listeners allows others to safely share their insecurities, as they feel that what they say will be accepted without judgment.

Accept conflict as part of real life learning

In a learning community where learners are encouraged to be honest and express what they think is a level of risk. Learners are more likely to struggle and may take longer to work through complex emotions. However, when we stay connected and stick to the process, conflict can make a difference. When conflicts can be resolved, relationships become stronger. We must teach students that they may face various struggles in life and accept them as part of real life learning.

Ask honest questions and find out more

Teach students to ask honest and open questions such as “Can you please tell me more about it?” Or “What did you experience?” Such questions guide the speakers to share more deeply. In addition, such questions are motivated by a desire to learn more truthfully (rather than reinforcing preconceived notions). If they feel they haven’t understood something, listeners can retell what they’ve heard and find an explanation. “Did I hear that right?”

A sympathetic listener should not make the speaker feel emotional or defensive. To do this, you should avoid asking direct questions, arguing over what is being said, or arguing over facts.

Treat the clarity of others as a gift

To be a sympathetic listener, you need to respect the trust placed in you by others.

Don’t be afraid of silence

A sympathetic listener usually stays calm and quiet while listening, and this is what speakers sometimes need; Want to hear them or want to know if you are listening? Students should understand that they should pay attention to the context and quality of peace before answering. The person may think about what to say next, or they may need a few moments of silence to control their emotions.

Words and syntax

If you speak, look at the person’s words, ask questions, and clarify the comments if necessary. Have a sense of non-judgment and respect and give the person time to respond. Remember; There is no script for Empathic Lisning. Answer by person, situation and moment.

Keep up the good work

Ask them if they have any questions or comments. Hold another meeting if necessary.

To help you understand, here are some examples of empathetic listening:

  1. Swati’s classmate suddenly informs her that she will be leaving her school soon. Worried, Swati asks her, “Would you like to give a reason and if she can help something?” While other classmates are expressing concern, Swati listens patiently न without giving her advice.
  1. Rohan stayed away from group discussions; He found it difficult to speak up and make his point. This is noticed by his colleague Raj. Next time, Raj agrees to invite Rohan to speak without putting him on the hot seat.
  1. Somi likes to work on homework / projects with her friends, so she expresses her frustration when teachers assign her projects with other students. Her colleagues have the opportunity to persuade her teacher to allow her to work with them.

Each of these examples of empathetic listening suggests that you should listen before you react, make assumptions, or make a decision. The speaker is looking for opportunities to express feelings and emotions. It not only helps to understand others but also promotes positive interactions in the real world.

How do you listen in your daily life? What strategies did you use for your students?

About the author

Author: Sania Khan

I am Sania Khan, copy-editor at EdTechReview – India’s leading Adtech media. As part of the group, my goal is to spread awareness about the growing Adtech market by guiding all educational stakeholders on the latest and quality news, information and resources. A passionate writer dedicated to excellence has been creating interesting but informative episodes since 2016, playing with words.

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