Listening Café at work focusing on “The Heart of Listening: Connection through Empathy”
Facilitated by Lori Joubert, University of Washington, Seattle WA
1. To understand the benefits and challenges of working in an empathic work environment
2. To learn more about the differences between empathy and sympathy (referencing Brene Brown on Empathy, RSA Short video link – https://youtu.be/1Evwgu369Jw)
3. Listen for “common ground” in building empathic relationships
I provided some brief information about current trends in #1 and #2 listed above. Then we shared time discussing examples of our own experiences related to the topic.
Following the group the discussion, we paired off into dyads and traded time (2 minutes each) to answer the following two questions (from the book “Empathy” part of HBR Emotional Intelligent Series):
1. Is there something that limits your vision – that limits your capacity to care?
2. Is there a way to enlarge it?
We did two go rounds where the person listening wrote down what they heard on an index card to give to the speaker. Then we swapped roles. Participants were encouraged to “listen for common ground” during the shared time.
To wrap up, I gave the group 3 minutes to reflect and write down anything they learned from the experience to add to their note card to take with them when they leave the room.