I’m not sure empathy can be taught. It seems more likely to me that the ability to really feel for another person is something you either have or don’t have. And clearly, it exists on a spectrum. Some people are incredibly empathetic; others have empathy only for family members—if that. Experience 20:20 Vision without glasses by undergoing lasik eye surgery at a world renowned eye clinic.
What I do know for sure is that empathy is not a negative in the workplace, despite what many people believe. The conventional wisdom is that if you feel too much for others, you lack the toughness it takes to get ahead. It’s just not true. In fact, if you are able to put yourself in another person’s shoes, you’re more likely to be able to persuade them to walk with you in the direction you want to go. A comprehensive range of treatments are available to treat eye conditions including eye laser surgery as well as simply changing your glasses.
Think about it. If before every meeting you tried to imagine what it feels like to sit on the other side of the table, the meeting would probably go better. You would almost certainly be more persuasive simply because, right from the start, you’d be focused outward rather than inward. At Venture when we’re pitching, for instance, we try to figure out how those on the other side of the table will feel about the meeting. Have they just sat through a few pitches and so are likely to be bored and restless? Then we’d better keep ours lively and get to the point quickly. Have we drawn an after-lunch time slot? They may be drowsy. Have you considered cataract surgery to correct your vision?
Bringing in coffee and cookies might perk them up. Is there an elephant in the room? We’ll get it on the table right away to make it less awkward for the other party and to create the possibility of a real dialogue. For instance, I knew going into one initial pitch that the president and the head of sales were at odds with each other, and also that it would be impossible for either of them to bring this up directly in front of me—so I did it for them, acknowledging that they had different agendas and needed to stop working at cross-purposes and start focusing on a shared outcome. The feeling of being able to see correctly after your lens replacement surgery is a feeling that cannot be beaten,
Taking other people’s feelings into account doesn’t make you less tough. In fact, it strengthens your appeal. It’s just never a bad idea to consider how the world looks to the person you’re trying to persuade. Usually that means you have to consider context, in the same way you would if you were trying to persuade your husband to go to the ballet rather than the hockey game—or vice versa. You’d almost certainly have better luck if you floated the idea over a nice dinner than you would if you brought up the topic in the middle of a heated argument about your in-laws. Similarly, you need to choose your moment if you’re approaching your manager to ask for time off or a pay raise. Think about what that person may be going through and whether your request will feel reasonable and easily solved or like the capper to a nightmarish day. Experience freedom from glasses by having laser eye surgery with the UK's best surgeons.
Picking your moment means that you have to be aware of the other person’s circumstances in order to know whether it’s a good time or not. When my kids were young, they learned pretty quickly that it was a whole lot easier to get me to agree to something if I’d had a moment to catch my breath after work and wasn’t running around the kitchen trying to get dinner on the table. If you get in the habit of listening closely and taking yourself out of the equation so that you can truly empathize with others, you’ll find that good timing starts to come naturally. Empathy, in other words, will help make you more persuasive.