Tag Archives: multi-tasking

  • 6

Are You Listening With Empathy?

Tags : 

Listening is an interesting skill, and it is important to note that listening is not the same as hearing, listening is a developed skill. People who are listening with empathy are listening for understanding.

listening with empathy

Have you ever been in a one-on-one or small group conversation and someone surprisingly asks a question or makes a specific statement about something that was clearly stated only a few moments ago? Not a follow up question or statement, but one that seems to be exactly the same information that was just presented by someone else. Perhaps, in order to not lose their current thought they keep processing it over and over and while doing so they are not listening. Then when there is a pause in the conversation they blurt out what is on their mind. If you’ve ever experienced this you know how strange it feels, if you haven’t hopefully you are not the one who is committing this social blunder.

Many people proudly state that they have the ability to multitask. While it is true that we may be able to walk and chew gum at the same time many experts agree that our thinking and perception processes are truly via a single channel. We might be able to spend a nanosecond here, and a nanosecond there, and give the appearance or illusion of multitasking but true cognitive multitasking doesn’t occur. So when you are thinking, processing, or trying to remember your rebuttal while someone else is speaking chances are pretty good you are not listening.

Given that we do not have a disability or physical problem with our hearing, we hear noises, sounds, and even voices, but listening is about processing the information, developing an understanding of what is being said, processing some more, and then perhaps offering a response. Perhaps many times we’ve heard that people fail to listen to understand, and that they listen only to respond.

Listening with Empathy

Listening with empathy is important for many reasons. If you are in a leadership position of any kind it might be important that you develop this skill so that you are not listening to agree or disagree, but to develop a deeper understanding. If you are in customer service, sales, or many other workplace roles it might be critical that you are not quick to form judgment, be biased, or stereotype people during a conversation. Listening with empathy is not sympathy, other than sounding similar they have little to nothing in common. If you are listening with empathy you are listening for understanding.

Are you a fast moving multitasking extraordinaire who can finish someone else’s sentence? Don’t count on it. Do you observe others in your workplace or those who you frequently converse with and after some period of time you are convinced you know what they are about to say in any given conversation? Don’t count on it.  Great listeners are not judging, they are not assuming, and they are not listening to respond. They are listening to understand.

Listen with empathy.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

  • -

Who’s Buying It?

Tags : 

They’re playing tennis and washing their cars.

Not that this is an extraordinary task for most people that are physically able, but the fact that they are doing it while obtaining their college degree certainly sparks interest or perhaps, debate.


In a recent on-line “accredited” university television commercial traditional and some non-traditional characters are cast in the role of simultaneously playing tennis and washing their car while also “studying” on-line with an electronic pad device.

It appears that the university is targeting people who have busy lives and who are interested in earning a college degree in the wildly popular on-line environment. Conceptually I have no issues or concerns about educational endeavors that include on-line learning. The debate for me comes from what the potential employers are thinking about a university that makes it so easy to obtain a college degree that you can do it while multi-tasking. A feat that popular wisdom among many “brain experts” suggests is technically impossible.

So once they’ve paid their money, paid their dues, and completed their course work who will hire these scholarly individuals? The employer who also watched the commercial? The employer that believes they will hire  and pay for employees who can multi-task? The employer that will allow employees do things like play tennis and wash their car while being compensated by the business or organization? To that I say, “buyer beware.”

My side of the debate is this, I don’t blame the students, I encourage them. My concern is that the university is marketing to the student to fill their seats (even if those seats are virtual) and they are not demonstrating interest or concern for what happens for the students in the future.

At least they aren’t discussing job placement rates.

Who’s buying it?


Photo Credit:  To the best of my knowledge the photo credit belongs to Derek Harper.

Search This Website

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog (Filter) Categories

Follow me on Twitter

Assessment Services and Tools

Strategic, Competency, or Needs Assessments, DiSC Assessments, 360 Feedback, and more. Learn more