Home Campus On speaking terms: Five ways to communicate empathetically

On speaking terms: Five ways to communicate empathetically

Employers rank having good communication as the most desirable quality in their employees, according to the International Journal of Business Communication. Effective communication can also be a way to serve others.

“I think a good conversation can feel productive and make you feel satisfied that you’re being listened to — that can really make a difference in someone’s life,” said Wyatt Lemons, a junior studying history.

Check out these five tips for better communication:

1. Listen actively

Make eye contact and have vocal cues to show where your attention lies.

“That makes me feel like the person really understands where we’re at and where the conversation is going,” Lemons said.

2. Ask open-ended questions

“A lot of my closest friends are my closest friends because they really ask questions that show they care,” said Sarah Petmecky, a junior studying food sciences.

Asking open-ended questions opens communication and allows someone to get to know the person better.

3. Remember names

According to How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, “A person’s name is to that person the most important sound in any language.”

When first meeting someone, try to use their name in the conversation right away. Using a name on the first contact increases the chances of remembering it later.

4. Focus on what’s being said currently, not what to say next

“I think if we took a step back and just listened rather than only waiting until the person stops speaking to make a point, we give more helpful and positive feedback,” Lemons said.

5. Be genuine and try to connect

Trying to create a genuine connection with the other person makes the conversation more meaningful.

“A lot of people want to be interesting,” Petmecky said. “But to get people to like you, you need to be interested.”

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