Empathy is a valuable skill to have that can enable you to be more successful in life. If you have ever come across an individual whom you would describe as a “people person”, chances are it’s because they have a high degree of empathy.
What Is Empathy?
Empathy refers to the ability to relate to another person’s feelings vicariously, as if one has experienced that feeling themselves. It can be joy, pain, loss and so on. It is like putting yourself into another person’s shoes.
Why Is Empathy Important?
Empathy is often referred to as emotional intelligence (EI) – the ability to understand the emotions of others. Studies have shown that those with the highest performance ratings at work tend have the highest level of EI, or empathy, while those with the lowest ratings tend to have the lowest levels of EI.
That being the case, we can see that empathy can help us succeed not just in our personal relationships, but our business relationships as well.
Developing Your Empathy to Boost Your Success
There are a number of ways to develop your empathy.
1. Look for good role models
Consider all the people you deal with every day. Who seems to be more of a people person than others? What do they say and do that would indicate this? Look for examples of how they show empathy and start to emulate them.
2. Deal with your stress levels
Most of us are not at our best when we are stressed. We are focused on ourselves, not on others, which means we will be less than empathetic. Good self-care means space to care about others and practice empathy.
3. Be a cheerleader
Celebrate the successes of others. It will help people feel appreciated and play to their strengths rather than their weaknesses.
4. Avoid the blame game
Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t blame people or scapegoat them. Have the empathy to realize we all make mistakes.
5. Pay attention when people express their emotions
When a person expresses their emotions, they are usually looking for empathy. They might also just be blowing off steam and looking for a sympathetic ear. Pay attention to what is being said, but without trying to “solve the problem”. Listening will often be enough.
6. Watch out for body language
Researchers estimate that up to 75% of our communication occurs through non-verbal means, commonly referred to as body language, and through facial expression. Learning more about body language can tell you if there is a mismatch between what the person is saying and what their body language is telling you.
Also, be aware of your own body language, which can damage the impression of empathy if you are not careful. For example, turning away from someone may appear that you are not interested in what they have to say, even though you might actually be doing it because you are self-conscious about your breath after eating garlic bread at lunch.
When people don’t face each other, they tend to lose vital visual clues conveyed through facial expressions, which means neither of them are really connecting fully and getting the whole picture.
Giving our full attention to someone shows empathy because it indicates we value them and what they have to say.
7. Study online
There are many websites devoted to empathy and EI that can help you learn how to read people better. Take the quizzes available to see what your level of EI is. Follow the suggestions the quiz makes as to how you can improve.
8. Practice in real life
Once you have assessed your level of skill, create a checklist from the suggestions and practice doing them in real life.
Now that we’ve talked about what empathy is and how it can be useful in every aspect of life, take steps to develop empathy and see what a difference it can make to your success personally and professionally.
If you’re a consultant, a coach, a trainer or an author (and a lot of professions in between), speaking events will boost your brand and sales almost effortlessly. There are many reasons, but one of which is how you’re perceived as more of an expert if you can get up in front of people and talk about it.
Meet More Future Clients – When you go to any type of event, you’ll be able to meet more future clients in person. But, when you speak, they’ll be waiting to meet you and be excited when you speak to them. As one of the so-called VIPs of the event since you’re a speaker, your attention will mean even more to the attendees than if you were another attendee.
Enables You to Sell Your Materials – When you join an event and agree to speak, usually you’re allowed to promote your offering during your speech as well as set up a table outside the speaking venue to encourage more sales. If you have a book, you’ll be able to sell a lot more signed copies than if you did not go to the event.
Some Speaking Events Pay – You can boost your income simply by taking paid speaking events. Paid events can be quite lucrative and often include travel, hotel accommodations and food plus money for speaking. This can lead to thousands in additional revenue each year.
Improve Your Networking – The more events you can attend, the more you’ll be able to network in person with people. It is a wonderful way to meet people. Even with online events, there is typically a chat room available. If you attend other people’s speeches, it’s nice to chat with the attendees between events.
Enable You to Get Sponsors – When you do public speaking, you can get sponsors to help support your tour if you decide to do one. Contact the brands that you want to represent and ask them. If you have experience as a speaker to show them, that will work better. However, often if you get on their radar due to your success they’re going to ask you.
You Can Even Do It from Home – Today, due to online conference software like Zoom.us, GoToWebinar.com and not to mention the advent of Facebook Live, you can perform public speaking events right from home if you want to. This is a great way to boost your brand and get more business.
Increase Subscribers to Your Mailing List – When you do public speaking events, there will be some people who will reach out to you automatically. But, if you incentivize them by offering them a special offer that only they get, you’ll build your list even faster.
Boost Your Expertise Quotient – The fact is, most people are so terrified of public speaking that it’s just like writing a book in terms of boosting how people perceive you. If you’re up there speaking, you must be an expert.
Speaking will also provide some personal benefits that you may not have considered previously. For example, a job well done will boost your own confidence in yourself. You’ll feel more assured and feel more satisfied with your abilities to think on your feet and get things done.
Every business has a growth process and priorities. The basic process is this: first you come into existence, then you reach the survival stage, finally moving on to the success stage of your business where you kind of stay at a status quo of success. At this point, owners feel as if they have it all figured out and can sort of skate on the processes set up.
It can stay this way a long time, but usually a business like this eventually experiences a take-off period where delegation is important. This is because many businesses suffer during this part of the growth stage due to lack of planning and fun.
Eventually, with the right plans and priorities in place, the business will again reach a sort of status quo and seem to run itself. But, how do you get there? First, you must set priorities.
Financial Resources – What are the financial resources that you have for the business? Can you identify immediate cash as well as emergency cash? Set a real budget for everything you need through startup and maintaining as you grow.
Personal Resources – In addition, identify the human resources that you have available to you for the business. If you’re not going to hire people, are you using outsourcers or contractors? If so, consider them resources to you.
System Resources – Take note of all the technology you have available or can afford to purchase for your business. Knowing where you want to go will help you make good choices about the technology you want to invest it. Systems like an autoresponder, a project management system, a customer relationship management system are all important.
Business Resources – This is everything you have available to your business to use that isn’t personal in nature at all. Make a list of the things you have and what you need to buy. Setting a budget based on your financial resources is an important part of deciding what types of business resources you can buy if you need to buy anything.
Once you’ve identified these factors for the company, you can set priorities for yourself.
What Are Your Goals for the Business?
This is not the time to think about a short-term goal. This is the time you write down your big goal that might seem just like a dream. Where do you ultimately want your business to go? Do you want to build it big then sell it? Do you want to pass it on to your kids? Do you want to stop the business when you retire? This is important because it will inform how you set things up and what steps you do each day to bring your goals to fruition.
What Are Your Abilities?
It’s also important to determine what your abilities are. Are you great at project management, marketing, or something else? What parts of your big goal do you need assistance with? These things are going to help you have smooth growth.
How Good Are You at Delegating?
If you want to grow a business past the point that you’re running it alone, then you need to get good at delegation. That means you need to be able to provide instructions to someone and then let them do their job. This helps avoid bottlenecks where people feel the need to get permission for everything. Set up systems, then let your people do their jobs.
What Are Your Weaknesses?
Write down anything you think you’re weak at doing. If you’re weak in an area, it’s not a bad thing – as long as you notice it. For example, if you’re not good with technology, that could stop your growth if you’re afraid to upgrade to a system that will work better for you.
How Can You Fix Weaknesses?
For a business to experience growth without breaking down, it’s imperative that as a business owner you’re always cognizant of each spoke in each wheel of your business. Otherwise, you can fail at a successful business when that’s not necessary. Keep your growth priorities in mind and focus on one thing at a time.
Choosing your growth priorities requires you to consider all aspects of your business, from today to where you want to go.
Productivity is a popular buzzword. A search on the internet will yield millions of pages about the topic. But all this advice about how to be more productive can actually make people feel even more overwhelmed.
The important thing to remember is that everyone is different. What works for one person might be a total failure for another. Testing and tracking different methods for boosting productivity can help you find just the right combination of activities to keep you moving forward towards success. Here are some suggestions for finding the right productivity mix for you.
Keep a To-Do List
The dullest pencil is more reliable than the sharpest mind. Write everything down as you think of it. Cross off each item as you complete it. You can also transfer the information on paper to a digital to-do list.
Create an Online Calendar
Use a free program like Google Calendar. Invite people and share calendars as needed if you are working as a team.
Use Tools and Apps to Automate Your Work
Chances are you have quite a few tasks on your daily to-do list that can be automated, such as social media marketing or email marketing. Set up the work once, and you can use it over and over again. This means plenty more time to work on other tasks, particularly ones that can make money for you directly such as product creation and online marketing.
Create a Daily Timetable
When we were in school and college, we always had a timetable to tell us where to go and what to do. Create a similar timetable for yourself, using blocks of time to tackle your to-do list. For example, answer your email and phone calls in a block of time of about 30 minutes morning, afternoon and evening before the end of the work day.
Block out time for social media marketing too. Plan a lunch break for 30 minutes and an exercise session. Pencil in time for yourself to do something you enjoy. The timetable will get you into a routine, but also help you stay focused and productive because you will rarely have to wonder what you need to do next. It can also help with your work-life balance.
Many people fail to set goals and then wonder why they seem to be stuck in a rut. Not having a goal is like jumping in a car with no destination and no GPS. A goal is like a travel itinerary, with a destination and some idea of which routes will be best to take in order to get there efficiently. You may get lost from time to time or take a detour, but that is up to you. It is all still moving in the right direction, not aimless wandering.
Formulate Action Steps
Once you’ve set your goal, plot out your action steps to achieve it. This can help you break down a large goal into chunks that can be measured and achieved. They can also serve as milestones to show you are being productive and making progress, not going around in circles.
Use these simple but effective ideas to find a method of boosting productivity that works for you.
Truly effective advertising requires that you make a great connection with your audience. And making a real connection with your audience requires that you know who they are, what they need, and how to provide it.
Conduct Industry Research – Understand how your industry works. It’s imperative to know the norms of different aspects of your industry such as typical conversion rates, who your competition is, and other information like that. The more you know about the industry, the better you can understand what will connect you with your audience more.
* Find Out What Customers Think – Use various communication channels to find out exactly what your customers think about your business and offerings. Survey them after each purchase on any issue you want to know more about. This information can be used to improve sales pages, case studies, testimonials and more.
Know Your Products – If you created your products yourself, you likely know a lot about them. But if you outsource, it’s still important to know the products and services, as well as how they benefit your customers. If you know that on page 10 of your information product it answers a question your customer asked, you can better direct them to the right information.
Understand Your Customers’ Buying Cycle – Every industry and customer has a process by which they make buying decisions. The cycle is the same, but how your customers act within that cycle may be different based on industry and the segment you’re targeting. Awareness, consideration, and purchase happen for all customers, but you can affect it by your messaging during each stage of the buying cycle.
Show Proof – One thing to do to help your customers feel “aha” moments is to change your messaging by connecting with them in different ways through each stage of the buying cycle. For example, you can offer a free checklist to get someone on your list, then send them a white paper that shows the different offerings that solve their problems, including yours.
Use Many Forms of Content – Use text content, video content, blog posts, email messages, video, images, infographics and everything you can get your hands on to communicate with your audience. Each audience member may learn and “get” something differently depending upon how the information is communicated.
Set Up Accrued Benefits – The more information you can get from your audience, the better. But, asking for too much information up front can turn people off. Instead, once you have gathered some information about your customer, find ways to get more information via surveys, membership areas, and more.
Improve Personalization – One way to create a real connection with your audience is to get more personal. As you find out more information, segment your audience differently so that you can address those special things about the customer in a new way.
The most important aspect of creating “aha” moments for your customers is that you know who they are, understand your products or services, and send the right messaging at the right time during your customers’ buying cycle.
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