Empathy as a lever of trust

halifax consulting Published by Halifax Consulting – 22 June 2023

In an increasingly competitive world, companies are constantly seeking to stand out from the crowd and adopt effective strategies for success. But for a customer to be open to a discussion that challenges them, that takes them out of their comfort zone, that brings them solutions that will change the way they do things, you first have to inspire their confidence. Without trust, they won’t buy a complex and/or innovative solution. Empathy is one of the key skills for building trust. Often underestimated as inappropriate benevolence, this ability to understand and share the emotions, thoughts and motivations of others is essential to building trust and navigating interpersonal relationships effectively. Empathy is an invaluable asset, particularly in the field of negotiation, where it contributes to the creation of value and the development of lasting, fruitful relationships. It can have a significant impact on an organization’s performance and reputation.

What is empathy?

It’s the ability to understand and share the emotions, thoughts and motivations of others. It is often seen as a social-emotional skill that enables us to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, to perceive their point of view and to feel what they are feeling. Empathy is essential for establishing healthy, cooperative and harmonious relationships, both personally and professionally. A study conducted in Lima showed that empathy can help prevent burnout and promote healthier, more cooperative working relationships.

Empathy is a complex, multidimensional skill that encompasses several components. It is generally manifested through three main elements:

  1. Emotional understanding: This involves perceiving and understanding other people’s emotions, grasping their emotional state and being able to interpret it correctly.
  2. Perspective-taking: This is the ability to adopt the other person’s point of view, and to consider situations and problems from that person’s point of view.
  3. Empathic response: This refers to the appropriate, caring reaction we adopt in response to the other person’s emotional situation, offering support, comfort or help where necessary.

Empathy plays a crucial role in human relationships. It enables us to establish deeper, more authentic bonds with others, fostering trust, respect and cooperation. Empathy also contributes to better communication, facilitating conflict resolution and strengthening social relationships. Empathetic individuals are often perceived as being more understanding, attentive and caring, making them more valued and respected in their interpersonal and professional relationships. A study entitled “Towards a relational conceptualization of empathy” emphasizes that empathy is a co-creative practice based on the abilities and activities of both the empathizer and the empathized, reinforcing the idea that empathy is an essential quality of relationships.

But to build trust, empathy isn’t the only lever. There are 3 others. Posture, which must reflect your business expertise and knowledge of your markets. The guarantee you give your interlocutors of the reliability of your words and commitments. And finally, your integrity, which you need to demonstrate because buyers won’t take your word for it. These last three levers will be the subject of a future Blog article!

Amine Arezki

  • Logo linkedin