Many, many folks have commented that having empathy is critical to connecting in the current COVID environment.  However, just saying “you must have empathy” isn’t sufficient…!

How often are you on a call with someone who “empathizes” with a statement from you in a way that is clearly fake?  What is your reaction to that?  (Not good…!)

Simply stated, empathy is “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

But this often requires a true understanding of the other person’s situation – if you haven’t experienced their situation, it is hard or impossible to be empathetic!

If you have never been a customer, it is difficult to understand the customer’s true feelings about their situation.

  • If you’ve never had their pain;
  • If you’ve never invested time exploring solution options;
  • If you’ve never been the “customer” in Discovery calls, demos, or POC’s;
  • If you’ve never driven the purchase of enterprise software or been a part of the buying committee;
  • If you’ve never participated in an implementation and roll-out process;
  • If you’ve never had a software project succeed (or fail);
  • If you’ve never been a project “burn victim”;

Then it is hard to truly be empathetic.  Perhaps impossible.

You can be sympathetic, which is quite different..!

Example:

If you’ve never broken your leg or other bone, how can you really understand the shock, surprise, pain, fear and worry associated with such an event?

Real empathy comes from shared experiences.  So, please be mindful of this when you are attempting to demonstrate “empathy” in your Discovery conversations and demos…!

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