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Empathy vs Sympathy
03 November 2021
Empathy is an important skill in assertive communication but it is easily forgotten because people are focusing on what should be done in a situation, rather than on how the other person feels. Sometimes people feel that showing empathy in a conversation, especially in a challenging situation, will appear as a concession or ‘giving in’.
This is unfortunate, as empathy helps the other person to feel they have really been heard and understood. This means they can stop trying so hard to make themselves understood, for example, by being aggressive. Empathy means showing that you have heard and acknowledge someone’s view, needs, or feelings, but not necessarily that you agree with them.
Effective use of empathy can be extremely important in many business situations – for example, during difficult negotiations, or when dealing with customer complaints.
When someone is empathising with you, do you feel?
The other person was listening.
They were showing respect for my point of view.
They were taking me seriously.
I was reassured.
I calmed down.
Watch the video from
for a fun way to understanding the differences between empathy and sympathy.
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