Our lives are filled with a steady flow of human interactions. Whether it is personal or business, the human condition calls for people to communicate. This basic human function requires us to interpret language and physical cues to help us understand the other person.
Empathy according to Wikipedia is defined as, “the intellectual identification of thoughts, feelings, or state of another person.” It’s also defined as “capacity to understand another person’s point of view or the result of such understanding.”
There are a multitude of theorists and a variety of definitions of empathy. My career training in professional sales introduced me early on to the importance of empathy. Almost every great trainer and motivational speaker has touched on the subject. What’s most interesting to me is that every human being sees things through their perspective, their frame of reference. Our individuality is as different as the shoes we wear each day.
In my work, I come into contact with many different types of people from all walks of life. My mentors taught me to keep my eyes open along my life’s journey so I can recognize the little angels that present themselves along the way. Having a strong sense of empathy is the key to developing a better understanding of ‘what’s in it for me’ relating to the other person. What does the other person want? What does your client want? What does your clients customers want? What do your employees want?
The ability to ask and answer these questions can help you develop your empathy skills. Having a clear understanding of empathy and being very good at empathizing with others is a master skill you’ll want to focus on as you begin your quest to creating your own high performance professional development program.