Displaying empathy is one of the most critical skills that professional service providers can exhibit, yet it is sorely lacking in the world. Empathy is often confused with sympathy. But empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Sympathy is feeling for someone else’s sorrow. Empathy also implies that the listener can do something to ameliorate the situation.
To shorten the curve of being considered a Trusted Advisor, employ the Eloqui template. In a one-on-one conversation or meeting, begin with empathy
. Use your version of “it must be difficult to...” or “I can’t imagine what it’s like to…” Then pause and let the other party speak. Follow this statement with understanding
, such as “I understand because…” relating your knowledge of the person or their industry. Then ask good questions and probe for details. Next, use your experience with clients or patients over time to demonstrate your value. Then, if it’s still too soon to give direct advice, offer an example of someone going through a similar experience. Be calm, collegial and approachable to come across as the Trusted Advisor.
Especially today, when many of us are doing multiple remote sessions or meetings, we need to connect in spite of the inherent coldness of technology. Empathy is a universal tool, because everyone wants advisors, especially ones who care about them.