7 things ‘humans’ should do to practice Empathy before we ask BOTS to do

7 things ‘humans’ should do to practice Empathy before we ask BOTS to do

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and truly identify with what they are feeling, experiencing or where they’re coming from.

Being empathetic is not enough if it doesn’t reflect it in the way you communicate with others and it doesn’t ultimately affect the outcome. It turns out this isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially for those of us who struggle with emotional expression.
Here are a few steps that can be institutionalized in the way we create processes for building empathy in our organizations:

#1. Actively Listen:

Stop multitasking, put down the phone and really listen. Hit pause on thinking of your own responses. Just sit there and pay attention to the other person. If you're not listening with intent, you won't have captured all that is said and all that is apparent from the emotions one displays. That enables empathy. Train yourself and your people to capture emotional cues and enable them to change their language accordingly.

#2. Resist jumping to SOP responses:

Refer back to my conversation with the Bank call centre. How frustrating it can be when you are talking to a person and the person shows no connection with your problem and their formulaic pleasantries actually infuriate you further? Focus on communicating empathy even if you can't provide a solution. SOPs are good but not always the answer.

#3. Acknowledge what the other person is saying:

This is probably the most impactful and simplest of all the steps. But it's also the most ignored - the one that is skipped. Here are some common phrases that can be used to display acknowledgement: "Yeah, I hear what you're saying." "I totally get it." "I see where you're coming from." Remember to do it with sincerity.

#4. Seek Clarification:

During the conversation, ask a few simple open-ended questions to clarify anything you didn't quite grasp. These could include: "What did you mean by….?" "What's most important for you about this? "So how are you feeling about this?"

#5. Ensure you are in his/her page:

This not only helps to ensure you've heard things correctly, but it also helps the other person realize what they've said. Hearing someone else summarize his or her situation is very helpful in giving clarity, it also ensures you and the other person are on the same page. Here are some statements that can help you paraphrase: "So what I hear you saying is..." "So, if I have this right, what you're experiencing is that..."

#6. Show that you understand how this might affect them:

This step communicates an even deeper sense of empathy. You're putting yourself in the other person's shoes and playing out the potential cause and effect impact of their situation. Use these statements to display your understanding: "I see how what you described would mean that... (what would get affected)" "Because of what you're experiencing, it probably means that…(it's harder or easier for you to also do X)" "Did I get that right?" "Correct me if I'm wrong‚" "What did I miss?"

#7. Show that you care about what happens next:

( Especially when you know you cannot provide what the other person wants): Sometimes our hands are tied and we may be unable to provide a satisfactory response but showing that you care is half the battle won. You would’ve earned respect for yourself, your team and organization. That is the ultimate expression of empathy, to show that you care even when you may not have a solution.