Just like we have empathetic communication, there’s also empathetic listening. Empathetic listening is very similar to active listening, wherein all of your focus is devoted solely to the speaker. There are a few different types of empathetic listening, such as making space, reflecting, and reacting.
When you make space, you suspend your own ego and “make space” for the message that is being delivered through verbal and non-verbal cues. Things like making eye contact and having a receptive body language are all examples of making space.
When we reflect, we’re mirroring what someone has told us right back at them. This is the best and easiest way to make someone feel heard and understood because it gives them proof that you’ve been listening throughout. Try to keep your own insights out of the equation when reflecting and simply focus on projecting the same emotions and words that are being expressed to you.
Reacting is the most common form of listening, but it’s also the one where we should exercise the most caution. Reactions need not be comprehensive or something major. They can be subtle, like when we nod our heads along with the speaker. Like with reflecting, our reactions shouldn’t be about our own viewpoints, but rather indications that we’ve understood those of the other person.
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