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The Key is Empathy

Submitted by ub on Thu, 12/27/2018 - 10:06

Empathy is the ticket to success. During Christmas dinner, I spoke with a relative and a wise person, who is much older the me. She lives alone out in the country, drives and has managed to outlive many friends, her husband as well as their only daughter.

We spoke about utilizing interpersonal communications to understand and share our feelings. Empathy includes the following.

E -- Eye contact
Always make eye contact. Western societies say the eyes are the window to the soul. Many cultures have a similar version, therefore making eye contact is the best human experience.

M -- Mimic facial expressions
Our brains are wired to automatically mimic facial expressions. When someone smiles at you, you almost always smile back. It's an automatic response. But you're also wired to tell the difference between a fake smile--just turning up the lips--and a genuine smile of happiness. Muscles in our faces tell the real story.

P -- Posture
Sit up and walk tall because it suggests happiness and confidence. Sitting down and turning our body toward the person we are speaking with, leaning forward, and staying at eye level.

A -- Affect
Affect is the scientific term for emotion. Pay attention to a person's emotional state. Are they sad, irritated, confused, or elated? There's little chance of communicating effectively if you don't understand where someone is at emotionally. Human development have wired our brains to become accurate at assessing emotions. Trust your gut because it knows something your brain doesn't.

T -- Tone of voice
Vocal pace, rhythm, and pitch infuses a layer of emotion to the spoken word that goes above and beyond the singular meaning of each word. How you say something telegraphs a wealth of content. Asian cultures emphasize and utilize this communication style.

H -- Hearing And listening
Empathetic listening means paying attention to another person, identifying their emotions, and responding with compassion and without judgment. Try not to speak when emotions are running high during an argument. Don't interrupt. Don't match the other person's emotion by raising yours. You'll find that the conversation will deescalate quickly if you follow these rules.

Y -- Yawning
Just like yawning, emotions are contagious. We may not realize that our emotional state is rubbing off on others. Our feelings about others may transmit very important information about how they are experiencing what you say and do. If you're angry or unsure of yourself, or fearful, these emotions leave an impression on others and impact the quality of our communication. Pay attention to how we feel because it affects how people around us feel.

Try it, you’ll like it... Thanks to Ethel, who assured me that she’ll still be around for many years to come.