Moving people through language is an art. In this craft, empathy is the painter’s easel. Without a firm grasp on the necessary tone, your communication pieces will not hit the mark, connect with audiences or forge connections. Our team is familiar with the effort needed to create empathetic, meaningful messages. They have a few tips for you in today’s blog post.
Know your audience
As communications professionals, we know that messages must be crafted with the intended audience in mind. When you think of others before or in lieu of yourself, it’s more likely that your message will have a more empathetic tone and better resonate with the end consumer.
First, acknowledge the need to speak to your audience, not to yourself. Unless you are the target audience, try not to let your personal opinions about a topic cloud your organization’s message. It’s also important to remember that you may know more about any given issue than your audience does, and you may not be in a position to share all the details. Put yourself in their shoes and consider how you can appropriately address the topic at hand and answer their questions.
It’s very important to put yourself in your audience’s shoes to ensure the message is appropriate. You want to speak their language by using words and phrases that will resonate with them.
Often, people just want someone to see things from their perspective. Tailoring messages to individual needs and determining the best platform for message delivery based on the circumstances will ease the minds of clients and PR professionals alike.
Asking for others’ input on a communications piece is always helpful for a number of reasons, including crafting a message that will resonate with key audiences. And writing with empathy is a valuable part of that. Including other perspectives in the editing process strengthens that effort.
As human beings, we cannot expect perfection 100 percent of the time. Accepting this can help shift your mindset to communicate with individuals in a more empathetic manner. Taking a minute to gather various perspectives in a scenario is eye-opening and helpful when determining the best response.
Ensure you view each situation through different perspectives. When conveying empathy in messaging, I find it best to picture myself in someone else’s shoes. While we can’t understand every person’s viewpoint exactly, we can put our best foot forward in understanding as best we can. After all, the “relations” part of our profession didn’t come out of thin air – it requires an open mind and strategic thinking.
It’s important to seek out diverse perspectives while also creating space for different opinions. Drawing your response from multiple stakeholders can help ensure that most, if not all, viewpoints are seen and acknowledged in your messaging.
Seek first to understand
One thing that people tend to forget in our field is the “relations” part of our industry name. Whatever the message is that we’re trying to communicate, it’s important to relate to our audiences and truly understand them – that’s understanding where they come from and why they feel a certain way. Only then can you practice genuine empathy
The first step to becoming empathetic is listening. Too often, brands and companies come out with a response statement or message without thoroughly assessing the environment and listening to their audiences. You cannot empathize with people if you don’t first understand their vantage point.
If you’re trying to convey empathy in your messaging, the best piece of advice I can give is to look and listen. It’s part of our job to stay informed and in tune with our ever-progressing world and understand what factors are affecting our clients and their audiences.
Eliminate your ego and get real
When thinking through the best way to respond to sensitive situations, it’s best to come at it with a mindset of trying to resolve – not with a mindset of trying to be right. Come at it from a place of empathy by acknowledging (and truly understanding) the consumer’s point of view, while reinforcing your company’s key messages.
In my opinion, one of the first steps to empathetic communication is authenticity. Assess the situation, listen to your audience’s response, then craft a response. No one likes a tone-deaf message!
Being open- minded is a crucial part to being empathetic with a client. Without being open to someone else’s perspective, it is hard to truly listen, understand, and empathize in order to create the best strategy possible to achieve a client’s goal.