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EmpathyA is not EmpathyB is not EmpathyC

  • 21 Feb 2023
  • 3:00 PM


Registration is closed

Our 2023 IGS lecture series continues with an interactive presentation featuring IGS Trustee Mary P. Lahman. Please join us on Tuesday, February 21st at 3 PM EST for 

Empathyis not EmpathyB is not EmpathyC

How do you define empathy? Would you write “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” or “help someone feel better”?

While these definitions sounds familiar, what if the intentions actually discourage listening? Researchers discovered a strong link between empathy and listening, suggesting that empathy builds rapport and assure others of long-term interest. They proposed a model linking empathy and listening to three relational outcomes: satisfaction, trust, and anticipation of future interaction. 

Using indexes, one of Korzybski’s “working” extensional devices, we can expand definitions of empathy to encourage listening at each part of the listening process. Listeners can use affective (A) processes to affirm others' emotions, behavioral (B) processes to be still to learn others' stories, and cognitive (C) processes to choose questions others want to answer. 

Learning our Empathy ABCs further builds our Listening IQ.

Mary P. Lahman is Professor Emerita of Communication Studies at Manchester University. She published Awareness and Action: A Travel Companion through the Institute of General Semantics in 2018. Created as a practical guide for learning to communicate well, the book urges readers to answer the following core questions: “Are you aware of how your words create worlds?” and “Are you aware of how your language and listening habits impact interactions in the classroom, at work and on the road?” A frequent collaborator in communication journals, she also worked with departmental colleagues to complete a 2nd edition of Communication Across Contexts: A Listening-centered Approach published by Kendall Hunt in 2018. Lahman received the Sanford I. Berman Award for Excellence in Teaching General Semantics in 2014, for which she credits her mentors.

Professor Lahman encourages leaders to add Listening Intelligence to their communication toolbox. During 28 years of university teaching and research, she was called on to help leaders in education, manufacturing, healthcare, and finance to develop communication skills and build teams. Mary continues to share practical ways to communicate well. She encourages workshop participants to ponder core questions about how listening habits impact their ability to learn from team members and add value to team decision-making.

The lecture will be held via Zoom. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registrants will receive the Zoom link in advance of the lecture.

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