A few weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of listening, especially during this tense era of heightened political rhetoric around the U.S. elections.
Listening is a topic I write about often because it is not only the foundation of leadership, but every relationship we have. It is the way we actualize caring. It is the way we let other people know that they matter.
In the U.S., this Thanksgiving may be much different for many of us, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of the large family gatherings so many of us are used to, this year we are limiting our activity to a select few we are close to.
And that is why this year, more than any other, we should make it a priority to practice empathetic listening.
2020 has been difficult for most people, with COVID-19 upending lives, and in many cases, livelihoods, with the end to this current situation still months away. For many, it has been psychologically traumatic. So many of us have lost loved one or friends to COVID-19. Our healthcare workers on the front lines are under incredible stressors in dealing with the deadliest aspects of this crisis firsthand. In other industries, so many people have lost jobs or been furloughed multiple times. Working parents are exhausted from juggling the responsibilities of at homework and online school for their children. And then, of course, there’s the stress and disappointment from not being able to see loved ones for very long periods of time.
In any case, a great deal of empathy is needed in the world right now. And no better place to start than with you. If all of us were more empathetic to those we get the opportunity to connect with, we would each be doing a bit to help to dissipate the anxiety and suffering the world is collectively feeling right now.
Over the past several months on this blog, we have shared episodes of our Coffee Conversations video series. Hosted by David VanderMolen, one of our talented professors in Barry-Wehmiller University, it is an entertaining way to share the listening skills we teach around the world.
I encourage you to watch the episodes below and take note this Thanksgiving season. They will bring a smile to your face while imparting important lessons. Hopefully, the skills you take away will bring smiles to others as well.