The Skill of Emotional Awareness – the third communication skill
Emotional Awareness is a skill used to check out with the speaker if your awareness of the person’s (feelings or emotions) is accurate based on the messages he/she is transmitting to you in your communication. These messages are transmitted through words, voice tone, and body language (primarily tone and body language).
An Emotional Awareness check is one of the most caring skills a listener can develop and use in listening. It shows concern for the speaker and his/her feelings. This skill gives us the opportunity to discuss our feelings and emotions without being judged. The emotional awareness check is provisional and non-judgmental. The ‘check’ or guess does not have to be correct, but realizably close. When the check is incorrect, the speaker has the opportunity to name the correct feeling or emotion.
Emotional Awareness is a statement, which includes a provisional stem and one or more feeling words, followed by a question to check out the accuracy of your awareness. You must listen for a clue from the person’s words, tone, and/or body language and then make a guess (in your mind) of a feeling he/she might be experiencing. This is the awareness of the listener and must be owned by the listener. He/she can then check out the accuracy of the emotional awareness check.
Examples of Emotional Awareness:
★ “I sense your feelings are hurt by the distance between the two of you. Is that Right?”
★ “It seems to me that you were excited by the support the military gave your family while you were in Iraq.
Is that correct?”
★ “It looks as if you are feeling pretty tired after the past three years of taking care of your father. Is this how you
Please note you don’t have to name the feeling(s) accurately, but you must be within reason. If you are completely wrong (like – happy vs. sad), the emotional awareness check may sound like sarcasm. If you are close, but not precisely correct, the speaker now has the opportunity to correct you.
An emotional awareness check is non-judgmental. It should convey the message of caring concern on the part of the listener.
Try it right now! The more you practice the skill, the more natural it comes in normal conversations.