Practical Empathy [On-Demand Webinar]

| April 27, 2015
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In our recent webinar, Indi Young, UX consultant and author of “Practical Empathy: For Collaboration and Creativity in Your Work”, shares some helpful insights on using empathy when soliciting feedback. Here are our top 4 takeaways:

1.  Collaborative and creative empathy doesn’t equal sympathy

When we think of empathy, most of us imagine having compassion for someone else’s situation. But when it comes to collaboration and creativity, empathy can be a bit different. In this context, the goal of empathy is to support and understand the intent and purposes of others, which in turn will help you obtain insightful feedback.

2.  Schedule time to listen, not interview

When you schedule time to conduct research, look at that time as a “listening session” rather than an interview. Your job is to listen, leaving your preconceived notions, goals for the conversation, or lists of questions you’d like answered, at the door.

3.  Ask ‘why’ not ‘how’

When you’re conducting your listening session, it’s natural to have questions. Try to focus these questions to answer the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’. For example, if the person is explaining a new product idea, don’t ask, “How did you create the product?” Instead, ask what they were thinking when they decided to create the product, what was their mindset, and their intent.

Why? By asking them to explain their thought process—rather than simply the mechanics of how they arrived at a conclusion or created something—you gain insight into their motivations and perspective. Understanding this is central to using empathy in the creative and collaborative process, and key to obtaining actionable research.

4.  Be present

We all have a lot going on, but if you want to show true empathy for anyone who’s willing to take the time to give you feedback, be totally present when listening to them. That means keeping your phones silenced and out of sight, not taking notes, and keeping your eyes off the clock. While all these things may seem like essentials to keep you on track, they all take you out of the moment, and can make your partner feel as if you’re not totally committed to the conversation.

To get all Indi’s tips on using empathy for collaboration and creativity, watch the full webinar here!