Look up, smile, let the guest know you are glad to…
- “see them again”
- “they came to tell you what is upsetting them”
- “happy to see them”
Listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Listening is a three-part skill
- Pay attention – do not prepare what you are going to say back, Look at the speaker
- Show that you listening – Nod, smile, make brief statements like hum, uh-huh, yes, go on, tell me
- Provide Feedback – ask questions of clarification, paraphrase
Use this technique when a person seems very upset or has a great deal to complain about. Listen to what the person is saying and then give them back your understanding of what you think they were saying:
- “If I understood you correctly you were saying ….”
- “So what you are telling me is …”
Paraphrasing allows two things to happen:
- It lets the other person know that you have heard them and gives them a chance to agree
- It lets the other person discount what you are saying and correct it so that you understand better.
Venting is sometimes all the person wants to do and when they have expended their energy they are done and move on or calm down so that paraphrasing helps them with this process.
This technique is helpful when a person’s feelings are stronger (bigger) then their thinking, in other words, feelings outweigh their normal ability to problem solve and think clearly.
Empathy lets someone know they are being heard and that they are not alone.
Four Steps to Empathy
- See the world from the other person’s point of view
- Communicate a sense of understanding
- Be Non-judgmental
- Understand connect to feelings
Listen to what the guest is saying and show empathy. Statements that show empathy connect to the person’s feelings:
- “I hear what you are saying”
- “It seems that what is upsetting you is”
- “You must be feeling pretty frustrated”
- “How awful …”
- “That’s terrible…”
- “I am sorry that happened to you”
Empathy is not sympathy.
Pitfalls of Empathy:
- Comparing the person’s situation to one that is worse then what is happening to them now
- Trying to fix the problem by offering solutions before the person is ready to problem solve
- Offering the bright side of things, or saying things could be worse
Be responsible for following up on requests
Let the guest know that you will personally take care of their request, or that you will find someone or report to someone what their concern is so that it can be taken care of
For example; the individual is upset and does not want to put their sleeping bag near another guest.
Let them know that their concern is heard (listening) that you understand how upset they are (empathy) and that you will personally take care of it (Assure) remember that with trauma informed approach our guests have little trust or belief that someone will take care of them.
End each conversation by letting the person know that you are glad, happy, pleased, thankful, that you had an opportunity to speak with them or help them.
Remember that the most important thing is to be genuine and sincere in your interactions.
You do not have to say the right thing or offer solutions you need to be supportive and kind.