Written by Paula Kennedy, CMKBD, with Timeless Kitchen Design


This weekend I just finished being an extra for a few commercials with the Improv Alive group that I’ve been practicing with for the last three years. Whenever I tell people I’ve been taking Improv classes, they say, “Oh that must be fun!” But honestly it’s more about getting out of my comfort zone, facing fears and learning new life skills than it is about being funny or being on stage.

Next week I have the honor of getting to come visit Monogram in Louisville for their annual Design Summit. The theme this year is Empathy. I have been interviewed twice in the last few months on the topic of empathy and listening skills. It’s a hot topic in the world around us today, and to be honest, it’s a topic of discussion in my primary relationship.

A client recently said she feels like I not only listened to what they wanted but really “heard” her, which created this level of trust, that is fairly profound.

How does this have anything to do with Interior Design or the Building and Kitchen industry? EVERYTHING! We have a beautiful opportunity every single day, with our clients, our contractors, peers, employers, families, significant others, etc.

Here’s the dry bullet point list that you hear everyday in seminars, that mostly just puts me to sleep and doesn’t resonate deeply. If you mastered being a better listener, these are the benefits you could achieve:

Conflict resolution

Team building

Trust building

Increased referrals


Those are all great, and we can keep “trying” to be better listeners until we’re blue in the face. But what if we stopped, just shut up and started “hearing?”

THAT is what resonates with me. When I personalize it, when I see this thread throughout my entire life. You know when someone really “hears” you, you can feel the difference. Improv is all about being present, here and now. We’re not supposed to think about what we want to say, or how to respond. We need to really HEAR what the other person is offering, and THEN respond.


In terms of the Yes/And theory utilized in Improv . . . you have to say YES first, yes to hearing them first. Then, you can use the “And.” I am so excited to participate next week in the Monogram Design Summit and to get to be inspired by their theme this year to learn more about #empathy. I may have to come back and amend my list below.

This is my current HOW TO list:

  • Practice being present while listening
  • Listen to their body language
  • Let them finish talking before formalizing what you want to say
  • It’s ok to Pause before responding
  • Tap into your Intuition
  • Put yourself in their shoes
  • Feel what they are saying

It’s worth the effort. Choose Empathy.


Paula Kennedy CMKBD CLIPP Timeless Kitchen Design COPYWRITE 2017 ©



  One thought on “#Empathy

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