5 Tips to Develop Personal Empathy – Common Good 

How to Practice part 1: Listening

Like going to the gym, you can workout to develop your empathy muscles (assuming you’re not a clinical psychopath). It’s harder than you might think; being aware of yourself, listening to what is being said and reflecting on that in real time can be pretty exhausting. The good news is that with a little practice it becomes easier.


A few tips to start with:


Ask open questions: If you want to understand someone else’s perspective, you need to give them the opportunity to explain it to you. “Why is that?”, “How did you?”, “What did you think?” open them up to more than one word responses.


Listen to what they tell you: So many people (myself included sometimes) forget to do this. If you feel yourself drifting away then trying summarising what they just told you: “Just to make sure I understand you correctly…” or maybe something less formal helps cement your understanding, check that it’s valid and it reassures them that you’re still listening.

Body language:…

Remove distractions:…

Count to ten (in your head):…

Phil Hesketh