The fact that you’re reading this could well suggest that you’re a warm, understanding, lovable human who is interested in good communication.
But what about everyone who works in your team?
Do they all display enough EMPATHY when seeking to communicate?
Empathy is what the free online dictionary defines as:
“The ability to identify with or understand the perspective, experiences, or motivations of another individual and to comprehend and share another individual’s emotional state.”
Having the ability to empathise is a key part of effective communication.
John Cleese, the actor on the left, is a master of demonstrating what a lack of empathy can look like and how it leads to communication failures.



Alas empathy was never the strong point of Basil Fawlty, which is where many of the laughs in the TV comedy Fawlty Towers are generated.
But here below is what it can look like when two people – both with a strong ability to empathise – are communicating.



There’s much America’s former First Lady, Michelle Obama (left), and TV presenter, Oprah Winfrey, could show Basil Fawlty about seeing the other person’s point of view.
Getting a message across effectively to others involves having a good understanding of those with whom you’re trying to connect.
If you’re not able to identify or comprehend the feelings of the people you’re targeting, then your efforts to communicate with them may well be doomed.




Alas Basil Fawlty is not the only person who doesn’t seek to empathise.
It’s possible that such non-empathising people can be in what’s sometimes known as your “Sales Prevention Force”.
And their efforts can be assisted by badly designed systems that are supposed to enable customers buy things through your website.
These systems often seem to be designed by people with no or low empathy and, consequently, very poor communication skills.
This is brilliantly illustrated in a new video that’s been produced by the BBC.
The video depicts a young woman who seeks to do something ever-so-simple.
She wants to buy a bread roll from a bakery.
However look what happens when she encounters the kind of frustrating obstacles that are frequently put in our way when trying to do something that should be equally simple online?
And what if the people who are responsible for putting those barriers in this woman’s way sound ever-so-polite but are, frustratingly, incapable of stepping into her shoes – in the way that so often happens on line.
Click on this insightful video to see what it looks like when there’s no empathy for our would-be bread-buyer.


If you found this video amusing it’s probably because you recognise some of the obstacles put in front of the woman seeking to buy the bread roll – even though you probably can empathise with her.


The good news is that I’ve found, when helping people communicate better, that increasing empathy is a learnable skill.
It starts by encouraging people to identify and understand their audience members better before they undertake any communications challenge.
This applies whether it’s a presentation, a media interview, a sales discussion or a pitch to a boardroom.
When you put the interests and feelings of audience members at the heart of what you’re planning then it’s so much easier to work out what needs to be said – and how to say it – in order to connect with them.



When it comes to communicating with an individual, it’s also profoundly helpful to be aware of their personality type.
“Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” focuses on how different types of people prefer different kinds of approaches in answers to their questions.
For example, there are those who can be categorised as “Thinkers” who are often task-orientated introverts who are good with numbers, such as a typical finance director or accountant.


“Thinkers” like time to absorb and analyse what they’re hearing. They like specific, detailed information and a methodical approach with evidence and proof.
There’s more on communicating with Thinkers and other personality types in Chapter 9 – “Conveying Your Answers to Different Personality Types”- in this book.



You can see the start and end of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” on its international Amazon page at:



Meanwhile if you happen to live in Malta – or know people who do – be aware that the next open session of “Give Great Answers To Tough Questions” will be held in the Maltese resort of St Julian’s on Thursday 27 February 2020.



If you don’t happen to be in Malta on the big day, please pass on this link to any Maltese contacts:
The oldest and most widely circulating newspaper in Malta – The Times of Malta – is covering the story.
Click on the headline below to read the full story.



Open sessions on Great Answers To Tough Questions are rare, but bespoke in-house sessions can be booked to be run specifically for:

  • Your conference
  • Your away day
  • Your business leaders’ group
  • Your internal company learning programme or academy
  • Particular individuals.

There’s more at:
Sessions in Malta, the UK or elsewhere are ideal for warm, understanding, lovable humans interested in good communication.
But if any members of your team don’t (yet) demonstrate an ability to show empathy, then it’s in everybody’s interests that they come along too.