Empathy

What is the the one thing that makes a speaker, a leader - and an individual - great?

An underrated, often underdeveloped sense - namely,

Empathy

What is empathy?

It derives from the Ancient Greek words:

en (meaning ‘in’) + pathos (meaning ‘feeling’, ‘emotion’)

It enables you to put yourself in to someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective and understand how they may be feeling. It is a key aspect of emotional intelligence.

What it is not:

Sympathy

Agreement

Weakness

Why is it difficult?

People are often not taught to see things from the perspective of another  – and rather look at a situation from solely their own viewpoint. This leads to polarised arguments, cul de sacs of thought, entrenched positions which the executive can’t see beyond. 

Empathy requires the executive to look at a person or problem from other angles and brings with it the ability to compromise or change tack. It can be emotional. It can be humbling. But it's a sign of strength and maturity.

What does it enable you to do?

It helps leaders to create messages which are truly audience-centric. Messages that will connect and resonate with whole audiences and each individual in it. Have you heard a colleague at a conference saying that they felt that the speaker was talking directly to him/her?

It enables the executive to:

Listen

Build trust

Build credibility

Handle challenges and objections

Resolve conflict and problems

Turn round negative perceptions

Develop rapport with others

Influence people

Have two-way dialogues

Get people on side

Create a more positive culture

And become a skilled communicator.

Empathy is fundamental to leadership communication. When you have empathy, it means you can understand what a person is feeling in a given moment, and understand why people have the opinions they have and do the things they do.

Empathy helps us to communicate our ideas in a way that others can understand, and it helps us understand others when they communicate with us. It makes the difference between getting people to follow you, your ideas, your leadership - or not.

Can you develop it?

With the help of a skilled coach, you can develop a better sense of empathy and learn how to build it into your communications.

To discuss how we can help YOU to learn more about empathy, please contact Simon Cannon, business development director at Professional Voice, on:

+44 (0)208 579 6662

simon@professionalvoice.co.uk

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