Empathetic Communication: What It Is and How to Do It

Navigating everyday life means communicating with familiar and unfamiliar people. Whether you live alone or with other people, you are bound to exchange information and thoughts with another person for various reasons. 

Being able to communicate effectively is a soft skill that is required in almost all aspects of your life at different levels. For example, placing your order requires minimal communication while discussing concepts with colleagues requires a higher level. 


However, it is always important to practice empathetic communication. If you are wondering what this is and how to develop such skills, then keep on reading.

Empathetic Communication: What It Is and How to Do It

What is Empathetic Communication?

Experts say that empathy is the ability to recognize and understand emotions and perspectives. In communication, empathy plays an important role as it can influence the way the conversation goes. 

With this in mind, let us define empathetic communication as a way to communicate that considers the things we do or say, how we say or do them, and their impact on the other party. 


Specifically, it takes into account the emotions, perspectives, and ideas of all the participants in the conversation. In group settings in which there are members and a leader, this type of communication requires managing emotions, perspectives, and ideas of all concerned.

The main goal of empathetic communication is to make the process of exchanging information and thoughts effective, efficient, and with compassion. 

How to Train Yourself to be an Empathetic Communicator

Now that you know what this kind of communication is, you might be wondering how to apply this quality to your soft skill. Here are some tips.


Put Your Listening Skills to Use

In communication, the difference between listening and hearing is always important. You want to make sure that you are paying attention to what the other party is saying instead of simply hearing them. 

This also requires tempering your urge to speak. This means that you should listen to absorb their message, instead of listening to reply. Of course, a conversation means that you will need to speak at some point, so it is not wrong to respond.

You can practice your listening skills by taking note of what the speaker has to say and digesting their message. Feel out the flow of the conversation and find the right timing to ask questions, give feedback, or make clarifications. 

Adjust to the Other Party’s Communication Style

Whether you are in a setting where you are a leader or you are simply communing with a friend or family member, you might want to try to identify the other party’s communication style, so that you can match them.

For example, some friends may want to pour their hearts out without expecting or soliciting analysis or advice, while some do so seeking your opinion or counsel. Some friends may be comfortable discussing things that matter to them in a group while some are not.

The same principle applies to workplace settings. Some people tend to have more productive conversations in a one-on-one setup, while others perform better in a group. Adjusting to the other party’s style can help make communication more effective.

Observe and Be Open to Emotions and Perspectives

As mentioned, you want to make sure that the emotions and perspectives of participants are accounted for. However, it is important to observe how these are affecting the conversation. Negative emotions can result in failure to communicate effectively.

Giving time to process information before offering solutions can be a great way to manage emotions. Just make sure to mind yours, as well, as this can also play a part in how the other party responds.

It is also important to be open to admit your mistakes and accept corrections. You can find a common ground to keep the conversation on track.

Empathetic Communication: What It Is and How to Do It

The Bottom Line

Empathetic communication takes a lot of observation and introspection. To become an effective empathetic communicator, these tips can help you train your soft skills and put them to good use.

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