Posted Thursday, February 24, 2005
A vital part of your networking skills is your ability to build rapport quickly and effectively with others. To build rapport successfully with another individual you need to understand 'where' they are coming from and have 'empathy' with them.
People often think of empathy as a mystical commodity, a special, almost uncanny ability to experience the thoughts and feelings of someone else. In fact 'empathy' is quite simply applied imagination and only requires a little exertion and discipline.
The next time you are sitting in a room conversing with three or more people, try this very simple activity:
Temporarily remove yourself from the conversation. Be very quiet for a few moments. Pay particular attention to the person doing the most talking. Imagine the following things:
Imagine the physical sensations the speaker is experiencing. Mentally place yourself in that person's body, sitting or standing in a particular position, eating the same food, drinking the same drink. Mentally become that person. Do you feel energised? Tired? Irritated?
Imagine what kind of day the speaker has had - using all your knowledge about the speakers' day. If you know little about the person, guess. Continue to imagine yourself as that person. How does your day colour and affect what you are saying?
Imagine the person's relationship's to everyone in the room - including yourself. Continue to mentally be that person. What kind of feelings are generated by the people around you? How do they affect the things you say?
Now step back into yourself and rejoin the scene. Does your own role in the conversation feel different?
Empathy, like memory is a creative act, not a mystical property and it requires imagination and practice. It lies within the grasp of all of us.
About the Author
Margaret Stead - Dream Architect, helps individuals, executives and business owners market themselves online into new jobs, careers - building customer-employer relationships and increasing their job satisfaction. She offers personal coaching, workshops, tutorials, classes and reports on the telephone and in one to one meetings that help people just like you do job hunting that gets results. You can learn more about these terrific resources at (www.careersnet.com)