Listening from the Heart

In my listening seminars and university classes, students learn that empathic listening, or listening from the heart, will affect other aspects of communication. Colin Firth makes a similar point in the article from the Wall Street Journal mentioned in yesterday’s blog.

There he recounts what it was like to play the role of a stutterer as King George VI. In talking about the difficulty in taking on such a role, he said, "…whenever I play someone who suffers, I feel there's a danger that I'm an imposter. So it's a relief that people who stammer haven't felt misrepresented." Then he said, in concluding his point, "When there's a story that takes everyone through something like this, it's a way to say to others, 'Now you live through it and see how it feels.'"

            That is why, in most conversations, you relate best and hold the attention of the other when that person feels you understand and are concerned.

Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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