I love Monday – one of my favorite days of he week.
Today, we are doing a down and dirty lesson on empathetic listening or a fancy way of saying – pay attention. Empathetic listen is active listening or seeking first to understand and then to be understood. The goal being two-fold – listen on an emotional level as well as a cognitive level. In other words you aim to get a sense of how they feel and what they are thinking. And, remember empathy is not sympathy. Empathy speaks from experience; sympathy is there in support of.
When communicating with any one of your apartment residents over any issue, good or bad, use the following two questions to go deeper. If they are in your office complaining about a leaky faucet for the third time this week [and, presupposing you have experienced a persistent leaking faucet in your lifetime], stop and listen. Once they are done talking ask, “how does that make you feel. Or, suggest, “I can imagine that makes feel very frustrated or angry.
It seems obvious but many times, in our haste to get the cranky people out of our office, we don’t take time to validate their feelings. Guess what, that makes a person even more frustrated or angry. All that most people are after is an outlet to vent their anger, frustration or the such and they want the problem fixed. That is where the second question comes in. It is more cognitive in nature.
At the end of understanding their emotion; repeat the reason for the anger or frustration; “I see Mr. Ineedamyfaucetfixed; this is the third time this week you have been in to report your leaky faucet. Our service person has been over two times and still you have a leaky faucet. It bugs you because you are a light sleeper and the persistent drip against the aluminum sink keeps you up. And, you don’t think you should have to put a cup or a rag under the drip to soften the sound. You just want it fixed.”
Your – seeking first to understand – multifamily maniac,