Empathetic Listening (NEW)

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Listening Workshop for Leaders and Teams, Listening Training for the Workplace Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney

Communication is the most important skill in life and critical to your effectiveness as a leader and as a team member.

Some common listening mistakes include;
- Daydreaming or thinking of something else while another person is talking.
- Thinking of what you are going to say next.
- Judging what the other person is saying.
- Listening with a specific goal/ outcome in mind.

We may appreciate the value in attentive listening although the highest form of listening is empathetic listening. Empathetic listening really gets inside another person's frame of reference and is an entirely different paradigm.

Empathetic listening is so powerful as it gives you accurate data to work with. You are listening with your ears, your eyes and your heart. You listen for feeling, for meaning and you listen for behaviour. It is more than 'active listening' or reflective listening. Deep, positive relationships can only be developed by listening to each other (Weger, Castle and Emmett 2010)

1) The importance of listening

2) Self-awareness: Noticing how I listen.

3) Autobiography tendencies in leadership - being misled by our filters

4) Dimensions of listening
- Focus on receiving deep communication
- Capturing the whole of the message
- Understanding and perception
- Listening for potential
- Staying above the detail

5) Insights from noticing what gets in the way of empathetic listening.

6) Listening with curiosity
Practice and opportunities to apply

7) How to spot defensive communication ( and non -verbal signs). What we say and how we say it creates a communication climate (the emotional tone of the conversation).

8) Discover six behaviours identified by Jack Gibb which are likely to trigger an instinctive defensive reaction. A defensive communication climate creates a barrier to open, clear and genuine communication ( Forward, Czexh, Lee 2011.)

9) Discover six characteristics of supportive communication climates.

7) Conversations provide great opportunities to increase positive emotions of others. Barabara Frederickson (2003) has shown the benefit of positive emotions for wellbeing. Appreciative feedback in its nature needs to be supportive, inspiring and dealing with the strengths of the situation.
Discover the Active constructive responding model (Gable, Reis, Impett, and Asher 2004)

8) Discuss challenges that can arise in communicating in long distance relationships.
ie A response is taking longer than anticipated or a response is not anticipated. Perhaps you hang up and feel misunderstood. At times our emotional response does not match the importance of the situation ( Reivich and Shatte, 2002).
9)Discover thinking traps - getting out of a thinking trap starts by recognising it.

"Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don't listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what's behind the words'
Sabina Vitacca

Jane Wundersitz

Sabina Vitacca


Dainton, M., & Aylor, B. (2002). Patterns of Communication Channel Use in the Maintenance of Long-Distance Relationships.
Communication Research Reports, 19(2), 118-129.

Forward, G. L., Czech, K., & Lee, C. M. (2011).
Assessing Gibb's Supportive and Defensive Communication Climate: An Examination of Measurement and Construct Validity. Communication Research Reports, 28(1), 1-15.

Fredrickson, B. (2003).
The value of positive emotions: The emerging science of positive psychology is coming to understand why it's good to feel good. American Scientist, 91(July-August), 330-335.

Gable, S. L., Reis, H. T., Impett, E. A., & Asher, E. R. (2004).
What Do You Do When Things Go Right? The Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Benefits of Sharing Positive Events. American Psychological Association, 87(2), 228-245.

Hanley, A., Garland, E., Canto, A., Warner, A., Hanley, R., Dehili, V., & Proctor, A. (2015). Dispositional mindfulness and bias in self-theories. Mindfulness, 6(2), 202-207.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The how of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. Penguin Press.

Reivich, K., & Shatté, A. (2002). The Resilience Factor: 7 Essential Skills for Overcoming Life's Inevitable Obstacles. New York City: Broadway Books.

Rosenberg, M. B. (2003). Nonviolent Communication - A Language of Life. Encinitas US: PuddleDancer.

Weger, H., Castle, G. R., & Emmett, M. C. (2010). Active Listening in Peer Interviews: The Influence of Message Paraphrasing on Perceptions of Listening Skill. International Journal of Listening, 24(1), 34-49. doi: 10.1080/10904010903466311

* WunderTraining is not associated with APHRA

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