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The art of empathy

William James, known as the founder of modern psychology, said that “the greatest human need is to be understood and appreciated”.

To meet that need, effective communicators must understand others before trying to influence them; understanding others depends on empathy.

Undoubtedly, you have heard the saying, “Put yourself in the other person’s place”. However, for a deeper level of empathy, do more than imagine yourself in the other person’s place; imagine what it is like to be the other person – with their individual personality, fear and dreams – in that situation.

Knowing what you would do is not enough; empathy is imagining how the other person feels and what they would do.