Why is empathy important when engaging online?

why is empathy important

The question "Why is empathy important?" is extremely prevalent in today's current crisis. There is a massive need for it in all quarters of life, profession, situations and personalities.

Empathy is also a vital ingredient in knowing how to write good comments. The reader or follower who is willing to understand others is much more likely to write the kind of comment other people will want to read.

Bloggers and social communicators will also benefit from understanding their readers, which can easily achieved by engaging more with them via the comment box or social update.

This infographic gives you more of an idea:

Why is empathy important when engaging online?

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Making an effort to understand others

Another important element of commenting is communication. This is a conversation between you and the blog's author, or whoever updated their social account. Therefore being empathetic towards what they said or wrote is vital towards getting your message across.

Empathy is awareness of other's feelings, needs and concerns

It's always a good idea to take time to view the world as others see it. Try entering into their heads and imagine why they said what they did or the action they took. Contemplate what they have been through lately which may have influenced this reaction.

Considering why is empathy important for engaging online is the first step towards fully understanding your friends and followers. This will not only make you a better person, but how you respond will be more relevant and aware of their needs and concerns.

Communicating at the same level

Empathy is a great tool to improve how you communicate with others. There is no need to fully understand or even agree with everything you read online. But having the ability to respond agreeably, ask questions for clarification, or even subtly deliver your point of view, can all be enhanced through empathy.

Which words you use can affect how your response is perceived. Particular words can be extremely powerful if used correctly. However, they need to be fine-tuned to fit in with the present atmosphere, and carefully chosen to prevent stimulating any unnecessary emotions.

Avoid lauding your expertise or advanced education to prove a point. Being empathetic is about coming down to the same level. Focus on being more aware of the other's behaviour and try to blend yourself into the same situation to understand them better.

Giving others more space

Let others talk first before you respond yourself. This is very similar to social listening, when marketers restrain themselves to watch, listen and read social interactions in order to understand their customers. This means when they start engaging, they are fully informed about the subject and are in a better situation to help.

Taking into account why is empathy important, it is a good idea to start taking a back seat. Let the other person vent their feelings, get their troubles off their chest, to make them feel better. This will provide you with all the information you need to produce a more useful answer.

Part of being empathetic is saying the right things. You sense how the other person is doing, and try to make things easier for them. Fully acknowledge their problems. And use your emotional intelligence to correctly respond to the situation.

Reflecting before reacting

It is obvious most comments are reactionary. These are the result of a spontaneous response to what has just been read, watched or listened to. Especially when engaging on social media, where acknowledgement benefits from real-time replies.

However, on the rare occasions the commenter has bothered to stop, think and consider what they are going to say, their contribution is imminently better. Why? Because they have bothered to emphasise with the original, place themselves in the same shoes, feel the same emotions, and create a bond with what the other has said.

If you can form a connection, find a way to relate to the subject, present your opinion in such a way others also agree, you are more than half way there in understanding why is empathy important.

Learn to think the same way

Take a look at an influencer's posts, videos, podcasts and social media interactions. Here are perfect examples of empathy, a willingness to understand their followers, to provide exactly what they want to read, see or hear.

Many marketing campaigns could do better to include empathy. Rather than loftily pursuing the results of dry committee decisions, if they bothered to actually ask their customers what they wanted, they would learn so much more about what is required, desired or needed.

Businesses should tap into their target's interests for valuable insight into how to adapt their brand. Customers are your best researchers, information gatherers, feedback providers, even demonstrators. Adjusting how you communicate with them using empathy will prove to be more valuable in getting your message across.

Show them your caring side

Consider using your human side to help with connecting, relativity and understanding. It's OK to feel the same emotions, spontaneously want to help, to comprehend at a deeper level. Just remember to tap into this whenever you write your next comment.

Effective use of empathy shows how much you care about the other person, their trials and troubles, your ability to interpret their situation. Being able to accommodate what they say within your next action demonstrates their importance and how much you value them.

People who show empathy are much more likely to gain trust and loyalty from their followers. An influencer responding to their fans. A blogger's next post relating to suggestions from their readers. Your friend offering both support and an answer to your biggest worry.

Have you considered why is empathy important?

If every commenter took empathy into account whenever they commented, the world would be a much happier and more positive place. Trolls would diminish, hatred wouldn't be tolerated, and even interpreted as a shout for help rather than an irritating nuisance or detrimental dig to ruin someone's life.

Understanding the other person, such as their point of view, the emotions behind their post, the situation they may be in at the time of writing, could make a difference to how you respond. This in turn would make your comment more interesting, relevant and appreciated.

Have you any stories which involved empathy? Are you a result of empathetic success? Has there been a time when you would have welcomed a bit of empathy? What impact could, or did, empathy have on your life, business, connections or whatever? Let us know in the comments below.

Alice Elliott
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