Navigating the Communication Highway

There are three basic ways to evaluate a listener’s response for its empahic accuracy:

  1. Subtractive (-) responses – What you say is inaccurate. It takes away from what speaker says. The speaker slows down, has to explain what she means, feels interrupted or loses train of thought. Speaker has to expend more effort to communicate and try to be understood.
  2. Interchangeable (=) responses – What you say is so accurate that it could be interchanged with what the speaker said. Speaker continues to talk freely and non-defensively, self-explores and gains more understanding. Speaker flows with what you said.
  3. Additive (+) responses – What you say not only accurately reflects what the speaker said, but it connects to something not yet expressed. It mirrors the essence of what the speaker said and adds something new that stimulates the speaker to deeper levels of self-exploration and self-discovery. It generates the “Aha!” experience. Some of the speaker’s unconscious thoughts and feelings become conscious and more empowering.

As a listener, the usual goal is to be as consistently interchangeable as possible. When you try to be additive, it means you run the risk of being subtractive. And being subtractive can derail the speaker and cause a real setback. Research shows the clients of therapists who are consistently interchangeable get better at a high rate. In contrast, clients of therapists whose overall level of empathy is subtractive either deteriorate or improve at the same rate as people who want to see a therapist and do not!

How would you like to improve your empathy in a one day empathy training workshop at UCLA Extension with Dr. Gottfurcht? Click here

This new UCLA program includes the latest training tools, insights and exercises from his psychotherapy, coaching and Psychology of Money practices.

Experiential exercises, instructor briefings and discussions can show you how to:

  • Increase client, patient, or customer trust, loyalty and satisfaction
  • Enhance self-confidence and empowerment
  • Deepen authentic closeness and emotional intimacy
  • Recognize and repair communication mistakes quickly
  • Accelerate personal, professional and financial success