empathic responses

  • What is at stake for you around this?

  • What is important for you in relation to this?

  • Is it most important for you that ______ ?

  • I’m not sure I understand what you said… I think you said ____ ?  Is that it?

  • Let me see if I am understanding that clearly.  Are you saying that _____?

  • Sounds like you want to make sure that we’re all on the same page.

Avoid non-empathic responses

  • Avoid:

    • Ordering, Threatening, Preaching, Advising, Teaching, Judging, Buttering up, Ridiculing, Interpreting, Reassuring, Interrogating, Distracting


  • Observation:  She looked at her watch over a dozen times in our 20-minute meeting about my project.

  • Interpretation:  She doesn’t value my project, or my work.


Solution request (clear, positive, do-able): Would you make these updates to the report and have 10 copies for the team by 8am Tuesday?  

Check-in request: How does this sound?  What are your ideas?