Mindstate Motivation Blog

ABCs For Empathy

b2ap3_thumbnail_00341505You’ve heard it said before:  “It’s as simple as ABC or 1,2,3.”  What you find usually is that is not the case.  The person saying it to you is trying to encourage you by making something seem simpler than it really is.  That’s not the case with the content of this post.


As they say, “Communication is a wonderful thing!”  You can enhance your ability at communicating more effectively by demonstrating greater empathy as to what the other person is thinking/feeling as you try to communicate.  It truly is as simple as ABC to become an empathic communicator.  Let’s take a look at why and how.


Whenever you talk with people, it is important to build rapport—to earn the right to continue the conversation.  If you actively involve people and show interest in their point of view as well as your own, they will usually grant you the right to continue and stay engaged with you.  Three communication skills that will help you earn that right are acknowledging, bridging, and confirming…ABC.


First, acknowledge the other person’s comments, opinions, and ideas.  When you acknowledge, you let the person know that you’ve heard and understand their remarks.  In other words, you provide feedback before talking about a related or different subject.  For example:  “That’s an interesting point.” Or ”Yes, I can understand that…”


If you’re changing direction, or if you’re trying to tie different topics together, use the technique of bridging.  When you bridge, you let the other person know where you’re headed. You also demonstrate that you haven’t forgotten or overlooked his or her needs, opinions, and concerns.  For example:


“We’ve talked a great deal about…There’s another aspect that you might want to consider.”

“Earlier you mentioned…I’d like to address that more fully.”


Finally, to make sure that you really do understand, use the technique of confirming.  State your understanding of what the person is telling you and then ask for confirmation.  Once again, some examples:


“If I understand correctly, you’re telling me that…Is that accurate?”

“Do you mean that…?”


Using the ABCs for empathy, can truly help you build trust within the people to whom you’re talking.  They’ll know you care and then, they will want to know what you know that can help them or be of interest to them.


See…I told you it was as simple as ABC!

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