How would I want someone to listen to me and respond?
The difference between sympathy and empathy
We need to avoid judgement and recognise the real vulnerability in people. The other day a colleague mentioned to me that a medical professional she knew accepted any emotional response her patient was prepared to give.
If someone was upset, angry, frustrated, or nonplussed, she recognised that response unconditionally, and in so doing validated her patient’s emotions with great effect on their rapport and level of trust.
This is the difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is, like Brown says, aiming to put a silver lining around problems by saying “at least it isn’t as bad as it could be”.
No, that doesn’t work, and it doesn’t help.
What does help is the genuine emotional connections that create real communication and understanding between us, not our superficial attempts to sympathise with problems, no matter how well intended.
Some of us feel anxious around emotions in business contexts. We worry about getting too close, or coming off as insincere or even intrusive if we empathise too much.
“I just don’t know what to do when they cry on the phone”, I’ve heard many of my trainees say.
Learn. And if you’re not prepared to do so, consider another line of work, because you’re being called to empathise every day.
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Founder & Fractional CMO
Rod co-founded LiveseySolar and acts as a Fractional CMO for our customers. He’s on a mission to help transform the lives of 10,000 people with vision correction surgery by 2024. To achieve that, he inspires his customers to make confident decisions that will help 50,000 people take the first step towards vision correction.
LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.
— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO
Founder & CEO
Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.
Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.
— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK
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