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Communicating with Empathy - Template for Successful Conversations

Leadership Development

Prior to having a scheduled conversation with a colleague, line manager or team members it is good practice to mentally prepare for the discussion. This allows you to get into the right mindset and will improve your ability to communicate with empathy.

Use this template as a guide for successful conversations.

  1. Build rapport

    • Put the other person at ease – engage in friendly conversation to build rapport.
  2. Consider common objectives

    • Ask them about their current thoughts and feelings.
    • Ask what their ideal outcome is for the situation.
    • Clearly state your desired outcomes. Demonstrate that you are willing and open to finding another solution.
    • Share your willingness to search for a mutually beneficial solution.
  3. Acknowledge feelings

    • Let them speak and share their thoughts and feelings. Neuroscience research shows people often make decisions more based on their subconscious feelings than their rational mind.
  4. Engage in active listening

    • Repeat and paraphrase what you have heard.
    • Seek clarification when necessary.
    • Use non-verbal cues such as nodding your head to demonstrate you are listening.
    • When people feel heard their resistance lowers and they become more open to exploring alternate solutions.
  5. Summarise the conversation

    • Summarise agreements and further actions.
    • Thank them for hearing your perspective during the conversation.
    • Be open for follow up conversations.


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