Empathy is pondering the simple question, "What is it like to be the other person?"
Of course, you can never know for sure, but so much is communicated by a person's tone of voice, face, body movement, etc., that in truth, if you take the time to consider it, what you come up with will probably be pretty accurate.
When you imagine what it would be like to be that person, what you do and say will be so appropriate, it will go a long way toward helping you connect.
Ask yourself, "What is she feeling?" Imagine you were her. How would you feel if those circumstances happened to you? Ask yourself, "How is she looking at this?" And your curiosity will prompt you to ask questions to find out more detail about her problem and her feelings about the problem. That is exactly what it takes to be a truly helpful listener.
In other words, imagine what it would be like to be her, but use that as a jumping off point, not the destination. Don't stop at your imaginings. Find out if you're right, and if not, why not? Use your empathy, your ability to see from her eyes, to explore her world, her perceptions, her feelings, her thinking.
Get to really know her by asking yourself, "What's it like?"