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Want to be more empathetic? Ask yourself this question

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I consider myself a highly empathetic guy.

If you’ve ever taken a personality test you’re probably one of us nerds who know everything about that.

But some people might struggle with empathy, and it makes writing copy for them particularly challenging.

So what would I, a super empathetic dude tell them? The course of knowledge would cripple my answer from the get go, as it’s hard for me to explain something that comes naturally.

But there’s one trick that almost always works when it comes to learning effectively.

Taking from a different field.

So let’s get creative, shall we?

For example let’s take a lesson from public speaking.

I just heard author and TED talk “star” Julian Treasure, talk about one great tactic to positively impact the way we communicate. And it just requires us to answer one simple question:

What’s the listening?

In his book “How to be heard” he observes “You’re always speaking into a listening”, meaning the other person will always have expectations, beliefs and pre-made mental models about you, about the situation both of you are in, about their own present circumstances, past experiences etc.

You get the point… when you’re speaking, you’re not doing it in a vacuum.

Which honestly, it’s what a lot of people nowadays do, broadcasting their own social media feeds out into the ether with no care whatsoever.

Fair enough, I’m guilty of that too, and I try to at least share what’s valuable for me (with the occasional drip of fun).

But when you intentionally think about speaking INTO someone else’s reality and experience, it shifts you’re whole way of doing it.

You start developing that empathy. You become conscious of the fact that your speaking might (positively or negatively) impact their listening. It might change their reality!

Well, it’s the same exact thing with writing I believe.

It might not be as easy to detect what the listening is when you’re not face to face, but you have another pro on your side…

Time and repeated exposure.

Your readers could spend a lot of time reading your copy. And they might stumble on it repeatedly.

Both IRL interactions and remote ones have their downsides and upsides.

It’s up to you to decide how to approach them.

And if you struggle with the feelerz, remember that you are always speaking or writing into a listening (or reading).

Just make sure you tailor your message accordingly.

P.S. Speaking of broadcasting, my friend Josh and I record a quick mastermind call every 2 weeks and post it on Youtube. We talk anything business, life and books. You can find the latest episode here.

Quote and reflection of the day:

“But the truth is, you have to be willing to subject yourself to failure, to be bad at something, to fall on your butt and do it again, and try stuff you’ve never done. That’s the ideal mind-set in sports and in life—you have to be willing to have people laugh at you at first.”

  • Laird Hamilton, Force of Nature

Failure is just the result of expecting your decisions and actions to return clear cut scenarios. Learn to think in terms of probabilistic outcomes and be willing to accept and learn from all the gradients they come in. Be the first one to be ruthless with yourself.

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