How Empathy Helps Bridge Generational Differences

As long as we have generations, we will have the following: nods of disapproval, eye rolls and facepalms while we take a deep breath. There’s just something about the generation older and younger than on our own that makes us do these things.

SPOILER ALERT: They are doing the same things to us.

Bridging the Generation Gap with Empathy

For many, this triggering of emotions through seemingly uncontrollable body language appears as a sign of disrespect. But for me, it shows a lack of empathy on everyone’s part — an unwillingness to understand the other person. It is that emptiness of empathy that is a regular struggling point between generations.

This is a topic that has come up many times on Thin Difference.

Empathy, the ability to understand someone else’s feelings, is one of the most important traits we can have. Leading with empathy creates a road map that will always benefit both parties.

I’ve always felt that at the root of any disagreement or displeasure with a situation is a deep misunderstanding of that situation. When we have “had enough” of someone, we’ll often use phrases like “I’m trying to get him to understand,” or “doesn’t she realize,” “I don’t get what he’s doing.”

You’ll never understand what that other person is thinking if you don’t attempt to find out.

Caught Between Two Generations

For the first time in my life I’m feeling smack dab in the middle of two generations. I have my parents on one side and my daughter on the other. Being in this position, I’ve also found that I’ve become more dependent on my parents and daughter.

When I am asked for assistance or perhaps seek it out, many times, without thinking straight, I want it on my terms; this is how I would do it, so this is how you should do it.

But it does not work that way, regardless of which generation you are dealing with.

Technology and the growing dependence our world has on it, has become an area of friction between Baby Boomers and, well, pretty much every generation after them. For example, my mom was having a problem with something on her phone, and I asked her “to text me a screen cap” of what she was seeing. Huh? That phrase is literally a foreign language to her and many people.

This struggle regularly shows up in the workplace. Technology aids us in doing things more efficiently and keeping us better connected. So when someone is out of the loop or working slower, it’s just so irritating … to us. And while many people will forever be stuck in their old ways, there are many that are willing to learn. But we need to understand that not everyone learns at the same pace. If we gain a better understanding of why someone is having trouble, then we can help find the right solution.

Teaching Empathy

When it comes to my daughter, our struggles are mostly about time management. Up until she was 10, she was pretty content going with the flow of whatever myself and my wife were up to. If we said we were going somewhere, she was going too. She also rarely suggested play dates, sleepovers or trips to the mall. This all changed once she became a tween.

Now she wants to do all of those things, all of the time. Those trips to the mall, the roller rink, coffee shops and trampoline cost money and perhaps even worse, my time … and my wife’s time and the time of the other parents.

If they want to do these things, someone has to drive them and in some cases wait for them. While it’s easy to say no, because it would inconvenience me, I have to remember to empathize.

Whenever I am using “I” too much in a conflict, I do not fully understand the big picture. I have to remember what it was like to be 12 years old and not want to sit at home on a Saturday. I have to remember what it’s like to walk around a mall with my friends, the freedom, the fun. I have to remember what it feels like to always hear the word “no.”

And so I oblige, sometimes.

But I also use it as an opportunity to teach empathy. When the answer is “no,” she needs to understand why. Because “no” isn’t because I don’t want her to be with her friends — which would be the assumption and why she would get angry with me. It’s usually because the ask is disrupting an already scheduled out day. I’ve noticed her approach has been different lately.

She now asks “are we doing anything later today,” or tomorrow, or on Saturday night, etc. She has a much better understanding of our situations and how she needs to consider them so she can have the result she wants.

There’s No “I” in Empathy

Earlier I mentioned phrases that are often born out of frustration we are having with someone. Those phrases all included the “I.” I have found whenever I am using “I” too much in dealing with conflict, then I do not fully understand the big picture.

I am not empathizing.

It’s when “I” turns into “we” that we can reach the ideal compromise. And when we have compromise through empathy, the walls built between generations become be much smaller.

By : Justin Kanoya

Photo by Dario Valenzuela on Unsplash

GenerationsCommunication, Culture, Empathy, Family, Generations. Post link.

More Contents:

How to Develop a Leadership Philosophy?

The process to develop a leadership philosophy may vary by individual. Developing one is the key so don’t get bogged down in the process. Use a process that works for you.

A Mindful Difference: Respond vs React

Being mindful in our responses ensures integrity in our interactions. Absence of mindfulness will raise the likelihood of emotional reactions.

The Importance of Story

Through social media or just more awareness, we gravitate toward good stories. The importance of story grows in how we lead and live.

Five Practices to Enhance Your Problem-Solving Mindset

A growth mindset also means we need a problem solving mindset. Solving problems is what makes us a better leader, team member, and citizen.

Do You Need to Aspire to Inspire?

To aspire is to rise up to a great plan, an abundant hope of fulfilling a worthwhile mission.

.

TEDx Talks

In a fractured world, can we hack our own sense of empathy and get others to become more empathic? Professor, Department of Psychology, Stanford University Jamil Zaki is an assistant professor of psychology at Stanford University. His research examines social cognition and behavior, especially how people understand and respond to each other’s emotions. This work spans a number of domains, social influence, prosocial behavior, and especially empathy (see ssnl.stanford.edu for details). In addition to studying the mechanics of empathy, Dr. Zaki’s work focuses on helping people empathize better. For instance, new research from his lab examines how to encourage empathy for people from distant political and ethnic groups, and also how caregivers and healthcare professionals can effectively empathize with their patients while maintaining their own well being. http://ssnl.stanford.edu

5 Reasons Why Your Clients Don’t Read Your Agency’s Reports

Establishing the business value of your SEO performance as an agency is part of client relationship building. It’s also what keeps the churn rate low and the referral rate high.

Yet, when it comes to reporting, why is it that some things get lost in translation?

Picture this – an SEO agency just managed a massive win for their automotive client, a 5% visibility improvement on both desktop and mobile for their highly competitive keywords list in the last month. From the content-driven campaign, over 25 links were built as well for one of the client’s main money pages.

But all of these insights are compiled in a fully automated report that gets sent to the client, together with all the technical tasks and other actions, without being highlighted in particular.

How can the agency make sure the client understands the ROI delivered for their business? Maybe the team is relying on the monthly meeting, but the client postpones that too.

Reporting is a critical activity for an SEO agency – one that supports effective communication and retention. And it can be tedious or strenuous work.

At times, clients don’t react as expected – but doesn’t have to be so.

Let’s dive deeper into reasons why reports sometimes fail to accomplish their objective and what do to about it, to make the best of your reporting process.

Here’s Why Clients Don’t Read Your Reports

Clients Have Different Expectations

One reason why clients won’t read reports can be the implicit expectation to see certain metrics included there or to receive them at a certain date. Or it can be that they don’t understand the specifics of your SEO activities, so they let it slide.

Keeping your clients close from day 0 is mandatory for communications to work. That means setting the right expectations regarding the agency workflows and what’s expected of the client’s team from the onboarding phase.

Reporting is a huge chunk of that so be sure to take into account the following questions and clarify them in the first month:

  • Why do we report?
  • When do we report?
  • How do we go about reporting?
  • What data goes in and where do we get that information?
  • Who is responsible for this client’s reports?
  • When should we escalate an issue? When do we make recommendations?
  • What’s the frequency of our reporting and meetings?

After negotiating all those aspects above in the agency-client alignment meeting, you can create an agency internal dashboard that includes your clients’ portfolio, the account managers responsible for each client report, monthly statuses, and due dates. That way you have an overview of your reporting process at all times.

Confusing, Long, or Unbalanced Reports

Whether it’s a fully automated 70 pages report containing every single SEO action the agency’s done or a document with inconsistent branding and copy-pasted data from various tools – it’s not an actionable document that a client can easily read and understand.

You need to have the end goal in mind: the client reading and getting how your work is helping the business. If the client doesn’t engage with your report, it’s a missed opportunity for both showcasing results and gathering feedback.

To avoid these situations, once more think about the main KPIs and SEO objectives you’ve agreed upon:

  • Do they have a keyword list they’re particular about?
  • Are they an ecommerce client wanting to increase the conversion rate?
  • Is it a lead generation campaign?

Having clarified the expectations and business objectives, that’s what you’ll report on monthly while explaining how your SEO intervention directly impacted their KPIs and business results.

To settle inconsistencies, you can create an agency template with a focus on these key insights and your agency’s brand and unique voice:

  • Think about highlighting the most important trends and victories on KPIs like non-brand organic traffic and Visibility trends.
  • Areas of focus and keyword groups.
  • Content performance.
  • Competitors’ insights.
  • Major updates that affected the campaign (if applicable).
  • Technical insights and recommendations.
  • SEO opportunities.

Then, you’ll have a good foundation that you can go on personalizing for each client.

After all, as each SEO campaign has its particularities, you need to make sure you report on the client’s specific requests.

Too Much Data, Not Enough Explanations

Apart from long or unbalanced documents, another reason for clients skipping on reading the monthly reports can be data-heavy documents, with lists upon lists of keywords and complex graphics that aren’t self-explanatory for a non-SEO specialist.

Sometimes you might work with in-house SEO professionals, but most of the time it will be a stakeholder that is interested in reaching their business goals, so they need to talk business. And even if you’re the extension of the in-house SEO and digital marketing team, they still need to justify the ROI of collaborating with your agency.

In the end, highlighting how you influenced marketing leads and sales is much more important than going into the nitty-gritty of rankings and traffic.

Want more time to focus on what matters? Then think about ways to automate data gathering.

Instead of spending multiple hours in your SEO tools, copying charts, making screenshots, and searching for the most relevant insights, optimize for time and integrate these actions into your daily routines.

For instance, with a reporting module like SEOmonitor’s, you get an assistant in the form of a Google Slides add-on that surfaces the critical insights from your campaign – that you can insert with a click. Those insights are transformed into visually appealing slides, within your predesignated agency template.

You get to focus on what matters – explaining the metrics behind your actions, how the strategy evolved, and what’s next for the client’s business.

Inconsistent Reporting Frequency

Was it supposed to be monthly? Or did you agree on a custom period?

Not getting the timing right and in alignment with your client can be another reason why reports pile up in the unread file.

Having a set frequency, which is usually month by month, helps both from a process point of view and as a ground for calibration with the client’s team.

To make sure you send your reports on time, you can use a project management tool or, again, your internal agency dashboard. Having a support system with nudges and alerts, via email, Slack or something else, keeps you on schedule.

Don’t forget to set your notifications beforehand for preparation – compounding the insights and creating the document itself. Also, you may think about the roles involved in the reporting process from the start, so you coordinate with all the team members in due time.

Unmet Expectations

There may be unmet expectations on both sides: your team made some important SEO recommendations that the client hasn’t implemented, the client expected to see a different outcome.

Returning full circle to the crucial part of alignment and expectations setting, there’s also one final aspect to take into account: communicating why it’s important to receive the report beforehand and read it.

It can work as agenda-setting for the last step in the reporting process – presenting it.

It’s also in the monthly meeting or call that you get to clarify, explain, and make recommendations while presenting the journey so far.

It can even be an opportunity to recalibrate the relationship with a silent client. It’s not the unread report per se that needs solving, but the way you both communicate.

Maybe it’s time to rehash what you both agreed during onboarding or maybe it’s time for a new approach that benefits both sides.

All in all, having the same foundation for this discussion raises its efficiency. You and the client can now focus on campaign fine-tuning and strategic talk because you know where you’re standing, the questions that need urgent answers, and can infer the next steps.

Ways to Optimize Your Reporting Process

Creating an efficient reporting process for your agency is important because, to a certain degree, reporting is retention.

Being able to articulate how your monthly activities and SEO interventions are improving business results will not only be beneficial for your client’s trust, but also for their continued collaboration.

In brief, here are the main things to consider when designing that reporting process:

  • Establishing the rules of reporting and clearly communicating them to the client in the onboarding phase.
  • Having a set internal process for how you approach reporting and its strategic objective.
  • Create a visually appealing monthly report to use across the agency, that showcases your approach and the most relevant SEO insights: SEO actions, visibility status, keyword groups, and their performance, competitors insights, SEO issues and opportunities, and next steps.
  • Automating data gathering so you have time to focus on what matters: strategy, tactics, and explaining what happened in order to translate SEO interventions to business results.
  • Creating a transparent process and gathering feedback. Your reports and meetings are a great opportunity to take the pulse of your clients and find out what you can optimize. For the sake of transparency, you should offer your clients the context to give you feedback and ask burning questions.

Our team at SEOmonitor researched this process through and through, and after gathering insights from SEO agencies, designed a reporting module that takes into account all the aspects above, so you don’t have to struggle.

You get:

  • An overview of your reports’ status at the portfolio level.
  • The status of a client’s report at each stage of the process (Due, Overdue, Submitted, In Progress), in your account manager dashboard.
  • A builder that leverages your campaign data from SEOmonitor into Google Slides – our smart assistant pulls the most relevant insights from each campaign that you can click and insert in your agency template in seconds. Plus, we’ll generate visually consistent graphs and charts that are easy to follow.
  • A feedback tracker for each monthly report that highlights engagement data: the most engaged slides, the most liked slides, and the client’s overall satisfaction, collected at the best possible moment – just after reading your report.
  • Reporting doesn’t have to be a painful or time-consuming experience for your team. And it can be significant for supporting client communications.

By: SEOMonitor

.

.

Ryan Stewart 32.6K subscribers Download report (free): https://theblueprint.training/extend-… It’s much easier to keep your current clients than to sign new ones. This video talks about tips you can use to re-sign your clients at the end of their agreements. ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 💥 LEARN to scale your agency ► http://bit.ly/2MntKos 💥 Let me MANAGE your marketing ► http://bit.ly/2MhTQJi 💥 Get hourly CONSULTING from me ► http://bit.ly/2MiXRNJ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 🗣 CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL Instagram ► https://www.instagram.com/ryan.was.here/ Facebook ► https://facebook.com/hellowebris Twitter ► https://twitter.com/ryanwashere FREE FB Group ► https://www.facebook.com/groups/digit… ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 👂CHECK OUT MY PODCAST Spotify ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-marketer-spotify Apple ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-a-marketer Google ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-marketer-google Stitcher ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-marketer-stitcher ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 👋 ABOUT ME: My name is Ryan Stewart, I’m on online entrepreneur and marketer. I used to work a job I hated for a company I didn’t believe in, until I stumbled upon “SEO”. Flash forward 10 years later and I’ve built, grown and scaled almost a dozen 7 figure businesses. It’s my goal in life to free you from the old mindset and institutions in place. If you follow my Channel you’ll learn valuable marketing, business and technical skills that will help you build your own online businesses.

Empathy & Perspective Taking: How Social Skills Are Built

Understanding what other people want, how they feel, and how they see the world is becoming increasingly important in our complex, globalized society. Social skills enable us to make friends and create a network of people who support us. But not everyone finds it easy to interact with other people. One of the main reasons is that two of the most important social skills — empathy, i.e. being able to empathize with the other person’s emotions, and the ability to take a perspective, i.e. being able to gain an information by adopting another person’s point of view — are developed to different degrees.

Researchers have long been trying to find out what helps one to understand others. The more you know about these two social skills, the better you can help people to form social relationships. However, it still not exactly clear what empathy and perspective taking are (the latter is also known as “theory of mind”).

Being able to read a person’s emotions through their eyes, understand a funny story, or interpret the action of another person — in everyday life there are always social situations that require these two important abilities. However, they each require a combination of different individual subordinate skills. If it is necessary to interpret looks and facial expressions in one situation, in another it may be necessary to think along with the cultural background of the narrator or to know his or her current needs.

To date, countless studies have been conducted that examine empathy and perspective taking as a whole. However, it has not yet been clarified what constitutes the core of both competencies and where in the brain their bases lie. Philipp Kanske, former MPI CBS research group leader and currently professor at the TU Dresden, together with Matthias Schurz from the Donders Institute in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and an international team of researchers, have now developed a comprehensive explanatory model.

“Both of these abilities are processed in the brain by a ‘main network’ specialised in empathy or changing perspective, which is activated in every social situation. But, depending on the situation, it also involves additional networks,” Kanske explains, referring to the results of the study, which has just been published in the journal Psychological Bulletin. If we read the thoughts and feelings of others, for example, from their eyes, other additional regions are involved than if we deduce them from their actions or from a narrative. “The brain is thus able to react very flexibly to individual requirements.”

For empathy, a main network that can recognise acutely significant situations, for example, by processing fear, works together with additional specialised regions, for example, for face or speech recognition. When changing perspective, in turn, the regions that are also used for remembering the past or fantasising about the future, i.e., for thoughts that deal with things that cannot be observed at the moment, are active as the core network. Here too, additional brain regions are switched on in each concrete situation.

Through their analyses, the researchers have also found out that particularly complex social problems require a combination of empathy and a change of perspective. People who are particularly competent socially seem to view the other person in both ways — on the basis of feelings and on the basis of thoughts. In their judgement, they then find the right balance between the two.

“Our analysis also shows, however, that a lack of one of the two social skills can also mean that not this skill as a whole is limited. It may be that only a certain factor is affected, such as understanding facial expressions or speech melody,” adds Kanske. A single test is therefore not sufficient to certify a person’s lack of social skills. Rather, there must be a series of tests to actually assess them as having little empathy, or as being unable to take the other person’s point of view.

The scientists have investigated these relationships by means of a large-scale meta-analysis. They identified, on the one hand, commonalities in the MRI pattern of the 188 individual studies examined when the participants used empathy or perspective taking. This allowed the localisation of the core regions in the brain for each of the two social skills. However, results also indicated how the MRI patterns differed depending on the specific task and, therefore, which additional brain regions were used.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthias Schurz, Joaquim Radua, Matthias G. Tholen, Lara Maliske, Daniel S. Margulies, Rogier B. Mars, Jerome Sallet, Philipp Kanske. Toward a hierarchical model of social cognition: A neuroimaging meta-analysis and integrative review of empathy and theory of mind.. Psychological Bulletin, 2020; DOI: 10.1037/bul0000303

Cite This Page:

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. “Empathy and perspective taking: How social skills are built.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201110090427.htm>.

advertisement


RELATED STORIES


Empathy Exacerbates Discussions About Immigration

Oct. 14, 2020 — Discussions about immigration are heated, even antagonistic. But what happens when supporters and opponents undertake to show more empathy? A study reveals that people who support immigration are …

Empathy Can Be Detected in People Whose Brains Are at Rest

Feb. 18, 2020 — Researchers have found that it is possible to assess a person’s ability to feel empathy by studying their brain activity while they are resting rather than while they are engaged in specific …

Empathy and Cooperation Go Hand in Hand

Apr. 9, 2019 — Despite sometimes selfish instincts, cooperation abounds in human societies. Using mathematical models to explore this complex feature of social behavior, a team shows that the act of taking another …

Oxytocin Can Improve Compassion in People With Symptoms of PTSD

Mar. 10, 2016 — Oxytocin — “the love hormone” — may enhance compassion of people suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to new study. Compassion is pro-social motivation to … FROM AROUND THE WEB


ScienceDaily shares links with sites in the TrendMD network and earns revenue from third-party advertisers, where indicated.

  1. ‘What happened to your face?’ Managing facial disfigurement Alex Clarke MSc et al., British Journal of Community Nursing, 2013
  2. Facial expressions: understanding the social information code Paula Brown, Early Years Educator, 2017
  3. Laser facial hair removal protocol and key consultation considerations Liliana Marza, Journal of Aesthetic Nursing, 2014
  4. Ageing and the older person part 1: the brain and the heart Ian Peate, British Journal of Healthcare Assistants, 2013
  1. Saying sorry Judith Harries, Practical Pre-School, 2013
  2. Reducing impulsiveness in young people Dr Stephanie Thornton, British Journal of School Nursing, 2017
  3. Overall Survival from the phase 3 EMBRACA trial of talazoparib in patients with germline BRCA1/2-mutated advanced breast cancer Litton JK et al., Annals Oncol, 2020
  4. Stool Microbiome Sequencing Sheds Light on Immunotherapy Response in Metastatic Kidney Cancer Precision Oncology News, 2020

.

Creating Empathetic Workplaces

Workingmums.co.uk hosted two employer workshops on how empathy can be used to create a more engaged, productive workforce in November led by Oliver Hansard and Joss Mathieson from Catalyst Thinking Partners.

Opening the first workshop, Hansard said that, in a world where we are in control of so little that is going on, empathy is a key skill. It is no use having technical ability without having the skills to unlock people’s potential, he stated. He argued that empathy is generative rather than passive, meaning that it guides people’s actions.

Mathieson said Covid has shown the importance of engagement and regular communication and added that empathy is crucial for dealing with a culture of change. If change is handled badly and with a lack of empathy, it can knock people sideways for months, he said. People’s attitude to change is deeply personal, he added, so we need to understand what it means to individuals to ensure people are able to deal with it effectively.

Hansard and Mathieson asked what people understood by the term empathy. Empathy is not only about understanding another person’s perspective, but it guides what actions should be taken and what support might be required. In volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times we also need VUCA leadership is required, said Hansard and Mathieson, that is, leadership focused on being Valiant, Understanding, Compassionate and Authentic:

Valiance is about not being afraid to show that you don’t know everything, to ask what others think and to do the right thing;
Understanding is about understanding how others feel;
Compassion is about being consistently thoughtful, even in challenging circumstances;
Authenticity is about being genuine and honest and not being afraid to show vulnerability, for instance, to talk about what it is really like living through this pandemic.

Hansard and Mathieson pointed out that there is often a discrepancy between how empathetic CEOs think they and their company are versus what employees perceive. A recent workplace empathy survey from Businesssolver showed, for instance, that 68% of CEOs think their companies are empathetic, compared to 48% of employees, and that 76% of employees think empathy leads to greater productivity compared to 52% of CEOs. Moreover, 70% of employees think greater empathy results in lower staff turnover, compared to just 40% of CEOs.  

In their Empathy Manifesto, Hansard and Mathieson have called for a cultural shift around empathy and referred to how Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, had put empathy at the core of innovation to understand the different needs of customers and appreciate different perspectives. Microsoft has shifted from a ‘know it all’ culture to ‘learn it all’ as a result.

Empathy Compass

As a framework, Hansard and Mathieson outlined their Empathy Compass which has empathy at the centre, surrounded by self, team, organisation and customer. They said empathy for yourself is your “North Star”. By understanding how you are feeling, you can be more empathetic to others and more resilient. They emphasised the importance of finding time for yourself amid family and work demands.  

In a team setting, empathy involves listening to others and being prepared to act on what they say, being honest rather than hiding bad news and taking the group with you. It can involve ensuring people take time out regularly to care for others in the team, testing things out and listening to feedback. 

When it comes to customers, empathy is about listening to their needs and adjusting products or services accordingly, whether they are internal or external clients. It is an opportunity to show you care and value customers and it drives loyalty. 

There are two dimensions to organisational empathy – top down empathy demonstrated by senior managers and bottom up empathy that builds from the sum of other acts of empathy – teams, customers and self. 

Hansard and Mathieson discussed how to attract and hire empathetic candidates and said it is about having the right behavioural frameworks and asking candidates at interview about what they think empathy is and requesting that they give examples of how they have demonstrated this. Also, they can be asked about their personal values and the employer can assess the cultural fit against their organisational values, if they have been clearly defined.

Participants then discussed examples of empathetic leadership in their own organisations, including weekly videos from CEOs about the need for everyone to take care of themselves; leaders who are mental health first aiders; role models and influencers who generate empathy; leader drop-in sessions; leaders who give people permission to take time out; a focus on domestic abuse; employee audits that ensure employers know about the different problems affecting different groups; treating employees like consumers; and a focus on adaptability to change and on how an empathetic culture supports this.

Mathieson said it is important to be aware that different cultural contexts need to be taken into account and that a different empathetic approach may be needed for different stages of the pandemic. Hansard said listening needs to become an organisational habit as does demonstrating that what is being said is being taken on board. Mathieson said employers need to listen more than they talk.

Listening hard

In the second workshop, participants explored empathetic listening or what one participant called “listening hard”. They focused on the reciprocal empathetic relationship between employer and employee and the importance of creating an environment of trust where employees feel they can be open and honest and that what they say will be acted upon. There was also a discussion on how an empathetic culture could boost understanding of customer needs and help deliver better services. Better listening can sometimes be enough to push things forward in itself if people feel they are being heard. 

Hansard said there are three types of empathy: cognitive empathy or empathy by thought – the ability to see another’s perspective; emotional empathy – the ability to feel another’s emotions; and generative empathy – which generates empathy in others and leads to action, if not by the listener then by others. Receiving and witnessing empathy has a profound impact and generates empathy for others.

They outlined their ACORN method of generative empathy which is based on:

Attention – listening with full attention and not imposing your own perspective; 

Curiosity – exploring what the other person is thinking or feeling and checking that you have heard and understood correctly;

Observation – noticing all signals, including body language and emotions

Reflection – being a mirror and testing what people are saying, for instance, stating: ‘I think what you are saying is…’ This can be helpful even if you get it wrong as it might make the person think about the issue in a different way if done well; and

Next steps – working together to identify action for you and for them.

Participants then took part in an empathy breakout session to try the ACORN method for themselves, working in trios where one person shared a challenge or problem, one person listened to another and another observed.

Reflecting afterwards, some participants described the difficulty of letting go of the feeling that they needed to find a solution to people’s problems rather than just reflect them back and find a supportive way forward. Mathieson said intentional listening has to be practised regularly and developed “as a muscle”. This is particularly important for building resilient organisations, promoting inclusion and helping people to navigate agility and change. 

Hansard and Mathieson have developed a six-month empathy training programme for leaders which shows significant boosts in leaders’ ability to listen and teams’ ability to behave empathetically as well as increased trust. The leaders who have taken part say it is transformative, helping teams feel more connected and able to be more honest and open.

By: Mandy Garner

If you would like to know more about the Empathy Manifesto and the work Hansard and Mathieson do, please contact them on oliver@hansardcoaching.com/ www.hansardcoaching.com and joss@changeoasis.com/www.changeoasis.com.

.

.

Vyond

This Vyond template video: https://vynd.ly/3kkeDLY features tips on how to meet challenges with a little proactive empathy. #nationalworkingparentsday#remoteteams#trainingvideo The new normal for today’s workplace is “no normal,” and every team member brings their own conditions with them, be it cooped-up kids, bottlenecked bandwidth, or a particularly disruptive dog. Effective remote collaboration depends on having explicit discussions about empathy and team norms. Start the conversation with your teammates with our new video template. Create your own animated video with Vyond. Start a 14-day free trial: https://vynd.ly/2JgHhB7 Check out our template library: https://vynd.ly/39vOoQP For more Vyond Studio tips and tricks, make sure to visit our Resource Center: https://vynd.ly/2Joci5W SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW VYOND: Facebook: https://vynd.ly/39mr4SH Twitter: https://vynd.ly/3csPnjS Instagram: https://vynd.ly/2ws2bWS Linkedin: https://vynd.ly/3cwKw18

How To Help Your Clients With Website Content Strategy

For small and medium-sized organizations, content is usually the trickiest part of putting together a website. That often results in it being the one thing web designers are left waiting for when trying to finish off a project. Even if the overall design and functionality are a go, a lack of content halts progress.

Over the years, I’ve found myself asking why this is such a challenge. But after seeing it time and again, a few things have become clear.

First, clients are generally not content creators. Most don’t sit there and write on a daily basis. Therefore, they don’t necessarily know what to say. Or, even if they have some talking points, they might struggle in articulating them.

Then there is also the obstacle of time. People who are busy running their business or non-profit may simply have trouble finding a few hours to concentrate on writing. Content strategy takes a back seat to other tasks.

This presents an opportunity for web designers to come in and save the day. With a little help, we can get the processes of creating and organizing content moving in the right direction.

Focus on the Most Important Details

If you’re redesigning or completely rebuilding an existing website, some of the hard work may be done for you. You can look to that content for clues regarding what’s important.

Even if that existing content is messy, it can still be useful. Search out the key selling points and discuss them with your client. Present them as a means to achieve their goals for the project.

Each organization will have their own unique message to share. An eCommerce shop, for example, may want to talk about their attention to detail when it comes to customer service. Meanwhile, a medical practice will want to concentrate on their expert staff and specialties. This type of information can prove vital in content creation.

The goal is to help your client to narrow their focus. Having a better understanding of the task at hand can provide them with confidence. They’ll be better positioned to produce compelling content.

Provide Visual Guidance

Another way to help clients develop a successful content strategy is through visualization. We do this by providing templates or prototypes that outline the various sections of a page.

This offers an immediate form of guidance that your client can reference when writing. They’ll have a better idea as to the desired length of content, along with how to make it easy to digest. It takes a lot of guesswork out of the process.

Of course, they may not exactly stick to the standards you’ve set. But that’s not the point. It’s more about getting them to think in terms of how that content will be seen by users. Even if they’re not initially thrilled with the mockup, you can work together on finding the right balance.

Another side benefit is that this trains clients to take a more consistent approach. In practice, this means that although the content may change from page to page, the format doesn’t. Users won’t be treated to succinct descriptions on the Services page while being expected to read a meandering, 20-paragraph opus on the About Us page.

By providing visual guidance, clients can simply fill in the blanks. It’s more efficient and less stressful.

Promote Common Sense and Ease-of-Use

When it comes to organizing content, things can get out of hand in a hurry. And they often become extreme.

Some clients may insist on cramming a massive amount of information onto a single page. Others could be just the opposite, with secondary pages that contain no more than a sentence or two. Neither of these strategies is likely to be a hit with users.

Thankfully, a little education can go a long way. When discussing content organization, focus on these fundamental questions:

  • How easy is it for users to navigate?
  • Is all the content on a particular page truly relevant?
  • What is the overall point of the content, and, is it obvious to the user?
  • Should a long page be split up into multiple sub-pages?
  • Are we missing any key information?
  • What’s best for SEO?

By asking these questions, you have the opportunity to fill your clients in on the finer points of a user-first approach. The answers should lead everyone in the right direction.

Write It Yourself

There are certain clients who may never become comfortable with writing and organizing content. Or they may just be unlikely to get around to doing the work. This is not only fine, but it’s also an opportunity for web designers.

By offering to write the content yourself, you will take some pressure off your clients – not to mention make some extra money. It could be a win-win situation.

You may find clients who are very happy to delegate this responsibility and pay you for it. In addition, it allows them to act in more of an editorial role. They can review what you’ve done and then collaborate with you to make the content the best it can be.

However, your work will likely be better received if you put in that initial research. As mentioned above, have a discussion about the most important messaging points. This will ensure a smoother process and better end result.

A Proactive Approach to Content Strategy

As with other areas of web design, being proactive with content is often key to a successful project. Keep in mind that your clients are most likely looking to you for some guidance. Therefore, your expertise and leadership may be just what they need to move forward with confidence.

And, just maybe, it means you won’t have to wait around nearly as long for that content to arrive.

By: Eric Karkovack

Related Posts

Related Tags

The Digital Project Manager

How to get website content from clients without a headache? This is an age-old question that a lot of DPMs in our community are asking. Today, Alexa and I break down the approach we use to get the right files, on time, in the right format, when we manage website projects. Related Resources: When you’re done with this video, make sure you check out these related resources: Podcast: How To Get Website Content From Clients (With James Rose From Content Snare) https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/… Podcast: How To Project Manage A Corporate Website Build (With Rich Butkevic) https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/… Article: Deliver Your Next Website Project On Time With These 5 Tricks https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/… DPM Membership: https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/ Follow us on social: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedigitalpr… Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thedigitalpm/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/1809… Twitter: https://twitter.com/thedigitalpm

%d bloggers like this: