Being empathetic is so important. As a public speaker, you may have the best intentions in the world, but if you are not able to convey your message clearly to your audience, your speech won’t be effective or enjoyable for your audience members. I recently attended a public speaking training class with my wife and our two daughters where we learned how to be empathetic.
It was a three-day seminar that we signed up for through Eventful, an online event planning startup. The content of the class was extremely useful and well worth our time.
Although I’m by no means an expert on public speaking – something I know a lot about thanks to my work as a speechwriter and public speaker – I found the information we received from attending this training very helpful. However, the public speaking course singapore will also help you out.
What is empathetic communication?
Empathy is a caring and understanding emotion that is displayed when someone understands what another person is feeling. In conversation, empathy can be shown by the one sounding empathetic to the other by mirroring their actions, thoughts, or words.
It can also be shown through body language such as shrugging, shaking hands, placing one’s hand on the other’s shoulder, or placing one’s own hand on the other’s knee.
You might have heard the term “body language” when talking about other types of communication, but in this case, it is the words that are being mirrored that are important – not the hands!
How to be empathetic in a speech
When you’re trying to be empathetic for the whole audience, it’s easier. If you want to be especially kind to one or two people in the audience, make sure you look their way when the speech is done.
When you’re trying to be empathetic in a group setting, find a quiet area where no one will be disturbed. Put on your most soothing voice, and use your most soothing body language.
Be sure to keep your hands and other body parts away from your face so that your voice and face are as close to the listeners as possible. If you have to speak in front of more than one group, find a quiet spot in the back of the room where you can be as effective as possible.
What does empathetic mean?
While being empathetic certainly isn’t the same thing as being “eager to help,” the ability to be more empathetic can help you connect more with your audience and make your speech more impactful. Empathy is a two-way street, and when you are being more empathetic to others, you are also being more empathetic to yourself.
You are less likely to be annoyed or frustrated by your own thoughts or actions because you are more aware of them. While it’s important to be judgmental towards yourself, it’s even more important to be judgmental towards others.
Therefore, the more empathetic you are, the less judgment you are willing to put on yourself. This can help you spot problems in your own speech and work on improving upon them.
Some words you may not know that are empathetically worded
Assisting: When someone else helps you, it’s called empathetic assistance. It can be giving someone your list of demands or helping you carry something heavy because you can’t do it by yourself.
Cheering: When you cheer for someone or something, you’re generally being encouraged and showing your support.
Deciding: When you decide on something, you make a decision that affects the entire group. You may not be able to choose who to give the speech to, but you can choose to give the speech at all.
Disapproving: You might not want to be “that person” when someone does something wrong, but you don’t want to be “that person” that does something wrong, either.
Encouraging: You encourage someone to do something because you want them to do it and you want them to feel good about it.
Giving: Giving something is more than just taking it. You are giving your energy, time, and thoughts to another person in a meaningful way.
Last but not least, guilt: When you feel guilty, you are feeling a mixture of love and sympathy for yourself because you know you shouldn’t be feeling that way.
Be mindful of body language during a speech
If you’re having difficulty being empathetic and focusing on the audience, Body Language Exercises can help. These are activities that you can do throughout your speech to look and feel your best. While everyone’s body language is unique, most people tend to look and feel a bit “off” when they are feeling stressed out or frustrated.
Since your audience members may also be feeling these emotions, your body language can be a problem for them as well. To be mindful of your own body language, notice any unusual muscle movements or breathing patterns that you are creating.
If you notice that you’re breathing heavily or making any other physical signs of stress, massage your hands or feet for five to 10 minutes and focus on your breathing instead.
Take care when delivering feedback to your audience
Feedback is a two-way street. While you want to give your best during a speech, your audience members want to give you feedback on your speech as well. Whether it is something positive or negative, each person has the right to say something to you. Be mindful of what you say and how you say it, and remember to give your best at all times.
However, there are certain things that you shouldn’t say to your audience members because you don’t want to give yourself feedback on that particular area of your speech.
- Don’t say something hurtful or derogatory about yourself or your family. When you’re trying to be empathetic, you don’t have the right to be critical of yourself.
- Don’t say that you’re doing a great job or that you’re the best person ever because that only makes you feel bad.
- Don’t say that you deserve something because you haven’t done anything to deserve it.
- Don’t say that you love someone or something because you’ve heard it said or read it in a book.
- Don’t say you’re sorry when you don’t mean it.
- Don’t say that you would do something differently if you were in their position.
- Don’t say that you “should” do something.
- Don’t say that you “shouldn’t” do something.
- Don’t blame others for your mistakes. Blaming yourself for “what you did wrong” or “what you did right” is not helpful.
Empathy is so important, but until you learn how to do it, you won’t have a chance with your audience members. Thankfully, the internet has created so many resources to help you out with this – from books to classes and events to forums.
There are so many ways to learn how to be more empathetic and it’s not just a matter of reading a few books and going to a class. It takes deliberate effort. The more you practice being more empathetic, the better you’ll get. The only way to be better at anything is to practice it. The more you practice something, the better you will become at it.