Understanding or fellow feeling captures empathy nicely. It’s one of the very things that makes us all tick and relate.
In this business, life and world we find ourselves with so many distractions that it’s easy to crowd out the time and space that empathy requires and with too much to do we may not find that time. Enter a perfect vicious cycle.
I was in a pitch last week that brought it home to me. As part of a team I walked into a conference room with at least 6 people awaiting our presentation. We were one of five or six agencies they were seeing over the course of the day and you could palpably sense the dying energy of the previous agencies and the diligent passion from ‘the six.’
It came to my part which was to try and tackle some meaty category questions and the implications for the future of their brands. Ten minutes later in the absence of any comments or feedback I felt underwhelmed by my contribution.
If I’d allowed myself more time to be empathetic, in retrospect, then I realised how differently I might have imparted the same information.
“The six” were less interested in the answer and information and more about how authentic, rigorous in logic and empathetic I was in my response, the 3 building blocks for trust.
We could be excused for not knowing the answer to all their briefed questions but there is no substitute for being trusted through just being yourself.
So, if you want to be authentic then just be you. After all everyone else is already taken.
Here’s a great TED talk that touches more on Empathy and Being Yourself as two of the cornerstones of Trust.
Find out what the third is here: https://www.ted.com/talks/frances_frei_how_to_build_and_rebuild_trust#t-538416