“The Sales Moment; Issue #249”
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People don’t care what you know until they know how much you care.
This quote was credited to Theodore Roosevelt and has been used by many people to illustrate the power of empathy that is essential for building trust-based relationships.
Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
Malcolm Gladwell provided a great illustration in his book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.
“If I hit my thumb with a hammer, most people watching will grimace: they’ll mimic my emotional state. This is what is meant, in the technical sense, by empathy. We imitate each other’s emotions as a way of expressing support and caring and, even more basically, as a way of communicating with each other.”
When you are communicating with someone, are you feeling his or her pain?
The only was this is possible is by what Stephen Covey calls emphatic listening.
In his best selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Mr. Covey describes Habit 5 as “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Most people seek first to be understood. Instead of listening with deep empathy they are waiting for the other person to stop talking so they get their point across.
Emphatic listening is active and reflective. It requires you to be quiet and give the other person your undivided attention. Ask questions and be able to restate back to that person what you perceive they are saying.
Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place. ~ Daniel H. Pink
It is not easy and you must be intentional. However, genuine empathy can help you gain trust and cooperation while building deeper, meaningful relationships.
Have a great week!