Empathy Can Grow Your Business
Empathy doesn’t easily come to mind when most business folks think about the soft skills they need to grow their business. How wrong could they be!
Project management, marketing, multitasking are great skills but empathy will always, I repeat always enhance all of them.
You might be asking what is this empathy and why do I need it to take my business to the next level? Are there real measurable benefits I can get from being a more empathic person ? My answer is a resounding Yes and you will agree with me as you read further.
What is this empathy ?
The Oxford dictionary defines empathy as,
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Hmm… the keywords here include ‘ability’, ‘understand’, ‘share’, and ‘feelings’
Let’s now replace the word ‘another’ with ‘your customer’ in the above definition.
Our new definition now reads as,
the ability to understand and share the feelings of your customer.
Now that definition makes more practical sense to you.
As humans we all have this innate ability though it appears in different degrees.
Even if you don’t see yourself as a naturally ‘empathic’ person, it is a skill you can develop by deliberate practice.
Some Benefits of Empathy
- Developing empathy can help you create and market products and services for your customers.
- You can more easily come up with profitable ideas for products and services by observing how customers use products and services, and listening to them talk about the products and services they need without interruption.
- Ideas on how to scale your current business can come jumping at you if you can just observe and watch your customers in action.
- You will be able to filter out customers or clients you want to work with and those you don’t want to work with early on as you interact with them. This benefit alone is really worth gold. It has literally saved me from lots of trouble dealing with bad clients.
- When hiring people to join your team or workplace, it is this skill that can help you know if the person is a good fit or not, regardless of his or her intellectual prowess or outstanding skills in their resume.
Of course this list is not exhaustive but you can already see what advantages you have as a more empathic business person.
So, how do I start ?
It is relatively easy to start building this important skill. Here’s how:
- Listen attentively to people — their words, how they said those words, their facial expressions and body language — while you keep quiet. Avoid distractions as much as you can — looking away from them, watching your phone or nodding to background music as they talk, etc.
- Talk to people. Try rephrasing what they just said to you and say it back to them to ensure you ‘get’ them. Ask open ended questions to get them to share and express themselves more.
- When you read text messages or emails from people, try to imagine what the emotions are behind those words. You may find that the same person writes in slightly different ways, using different words when they are happy, angry, stressed.
- Read books and materials on empathy and emotional intelligence.
Do this everyday and you will definitely become better at becoming more empathic.
You can check out these links to test your level of empathy:
Here are a few recommended books too:
- Daniel Goleman’s Books on Emotional Intelligence
- Well-Designed: How to Use How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love by Jon Kolko (2014)
- Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy by Dev Patnaik (2009)
- The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill by Karla McLaren (2013)
Thank you for reading. I hope you this post helps you.
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