The main focus of the second assignment is understanding, experiencing, and analyzing empathy.
1. Arrange a conversation with a friend or colleague for at least 20 – 30 minutes. (It will likely go longer than this.)The conversation is mainly about the other and should focus on the other person’s current ideas and concerns. You do not have to assign a particular topic, but try to get a sense of what is currently happening in the person’s life about which they have definite opinions and feelings. If you are speaking with a current senior, you might engage him/her in the job search, plans for post-graduation, and all that entails. You do not have to identify the person and can assure him/her that they can speak freely.
2. Use any variety or combination of listening skills to elicit the other person’s ideas and feelings and try to keep the focus mainly on his/her life rather than your own (although you certainly may offer some opinions or perspective from your point of view). Ask questions, reflect their experiences, and gain as much understanding as possible.
3. Drawing upon theory, your EQi assessment and the actual experience, write a detailed analysis (about 8 – 10 pages) that captures your empathic understanding. Include both the physical experience (how you actually felt as they spoke of their life) and the analytical (how you perceive and comprehend their experience from their value system and point of view).
4. What are your conclusions about empathy that are derived from what you have read and this application of ideas? How can your empathy be expanded, deepened and improved?