Director's Message: Resonating with the feelings of others to build rapport

Good communication is essential for a fulfilling life and for more successful relationships. One of the main ingredients of excellent communication is empathy.

Nov 12th, 2014
Guitarsmsh

Good communication is essential for a fulfilling life and for more successful relationships. One of the main ingredients of excellent communication is empathy.

But what exactly is empathy?

Identifying with and understanding someone else’s situation is what empathy is all about. As the 18th Century English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once said, “What comes from the heart, goes to the heart.” True empathy requires us to be aware of others and the emotions they are experiencing.

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It has often been said that people who are empathic can quickly put themselves “in someone else’s shoes,” meaning they can see the world through other people’s eyes. Empathy is the skill that allows you to sense how someone else feels, as well as see a situation from their point of view. This ability can be likened to the concept of sound resonance in music.

Are you familiar with the concept of sound resonance?

Simply stated, sound resonance means to sound and re-sound again, like an echo. One of the best ways to demonstrate sound resonance is with two guitars. Pluck any string on one of the guitars, and then lightly touch the same string on the second guitar. A string on the second guitar will begin vibrating at the same frequency as the string on the first guitar. This is an example of sound resonance — one object vibrating at the same natural frequency as a second object.

Empathy works much the same way as sound resonance. Empathy means a person has the capacity to be in vibrational sync with another person. Empathy means understanding the experiences, behaviors, and feelings of others while they are experiencing them. It involves the ability to put yourself in another’s situation — not to be that other person — but to experience their situation as if it were your own. In other words, the empathetic person resonates, like sound, at the same frequency as the other person.

The key point is that you remain a separate person, fully aware of your own personal feelings while imagining and understanding the other person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions from their point of view. To do this, you have to be able to put aside your own biases, prejudices, and points of view in order to fully understand that person.

In an upcoming Director’s Message, I’ll explore empathy marketing, and what that means to your business.

Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, MSEC
Director, RDH eVillage

Kristine A. Hodsdon, RDH, MSEC, is an international speaker and executive coach who consults and developed the Wealth Clarity Program, a virtual training so you have more easeful financial conversations. Her website is www. kristineahodsdon.com and she provides customized coaching and training, and is also a trainer with Pride Institute. She can be reached at kristinehrdh@pennwell.com.

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