Corporate Empathy: No Longer an Oxymoron

True or False: By 2026, artificial intelligence machines will be part of a company’s Board of Directors. If you picked false, think again. Research by the World Economic Forum proved this fact to be true. So what does this mean for a businessperson in 2020? It means opportunity. As automation and technology take a bigger seat at the table, upskilling with soft skills can save jobs at risk from automation and future-proof careers. Think leadership training. Collaborative problem solving. Creativity. And yes, even training to increase empathy. In fact, 75% of employers are more likely to promote someone with a higher emotional quotient (EQ) over someone with a higher IQ.

At Suasive, we believe empathy is one of the most critical skills necessary to connect with an audience. Like a sixth sense, empathy enables you to advocate for your audience, walk in their shoes, and feel their emotions as if they were your own. Great presenters know how to use empathy and emotional intelligence to resist the temptation of speaking from their perspective and instead skillfully speak from the perspective of their audience. Effective communicators know how to scrub every sentence and syllable to minimize self-interest and maximize what the audience cares about. Especially for technical, product-heavy presentations, empathy provides the discipline and mindset to cut out unnecessary detail and switch the focus to the customer experience while highlighting the vivid benefits your idea or solution provides. Empathy enables action and helps ensure your audience will do what you need them to do to achieve the laser-sharp objective of your presentation.

So if you’re thinking that soft skills are just that, soft and shy of achieving business-worthy results, it may be time to change your view. Today, soft skills—like effective communication and empathy—are the toughest skills of all. The workplace of the future may be shared with robots and AI, but authentic, uniquely human communication will always have an ageless and enduring place in business.