Life in Another’s Shoes: How to Embrace Empathy

This week we have spoken quite a bit on the importance of empathy and embracing all walks of life. However, we have yet to speak about how to develop empathy.

Empathy is a crucial skill whether you are dealing with coworkers, employees, customers, or friends. It is what gives us the human connection person everyone craves. In fact, it could be the difference between a good leader and a great one.

Does empathy not come naturally to you? Here are a few ways to empathize with people in your life so you can better understand what they need.

Put Yourself Aside

A pivotal part of developing empathy is to put yourself aside.  Empathy is about putting another person’s feelings before your own. Don’t create something just because you think YOU would like it. Develop’ product because you think other people will enjoy it or find it useful. Look at some of the most successful inventors in history. They didn’t create things because they would get rich. They did it because it would make the lives of others easier.

Put Yourself in Other’s Shoes

Although it’s one of the easiest the concepts to understand, this step is one of the hardest practices in developing empathy. The best way to strengthen this skill, you need to READ and IMAGINE yourself as a completely different person. If you are middles aged, middle-class male business owner, read about a young boy risking his life to immigrate to America or the experience of a single mother struggling to make ends meet in the slums.

Ask Questions

One of the easiest ways to understand someone else’s perspective is to ask questions. Ask how someone would react to a situation or what kinds of struggles they experience every day. Not only will you learn more about how other people live and think, but you will also make that person feel heard.

Listen

The most important part of empathy is listening. Even if you don’t agree with a person’s opinion, listing to their story and ideas will help you understand them. Don’t talk. Don’t argue. Just take a moment to listen and comprehend what they are saying. Notice their body language. Open your heart to them as they are opening up to you. When they share their opinion, make sure they know you heard them. Validate their opinion. It might not be correct, but it is THEIR’S, and they are not going to let go of that thinking easily. All we can do is peacefully agree to disagree.

 

How to Network: The Foundation of Influence

Courtesy of Kaboompics

In addition to writing and marketing, I have also worked in entertainment and if there is one thing that I have learned in that experience, it is that networking is everything. Knowing people and collaborating with them not only gives you new opportunities, but it also lays the foundation for future followers.

However, not everyone understands the importance of networking or are too shy to follow through with conversation. That is why we are giving you a few tips on how you can improve your networking skills

1. “You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.”-Benjamin Mee, “We Bought a Zoo”

 

Courtesy of Kaboompics

When I met Elie Wiesel for the first time, it was because of 20 seconds of insane courage. The goes with meeting people like President Muhammad Nasheed of the Maldives and interviewing Piper Kerman, the author of the book “Orange is the New Black.” If you see someone that you admire or who you have always wanted to work with, 20 seconds is all you need to say “hello” and make a first impression. Don’t let those 20 seconds leaves you in the dust.

Bonus Tip: If you’re really nervous meeting new people, have a go-to friend that will help introduce you and make sure the conversation doesn’t die. Think of “How I Met Your Mother” and Barney’s favorite game “Have…You Met Ted.”

2. Speaking of First Impressions

Always be ready for a good first impression. If you were to see me out, working on these blog posts, you would see me in a nice outfit (normally a nice blouse, heels, and my Lucky Brand jeans that I swear by) with my hair and makeup done. You only ever get one shot at making a first impression and you never know when it might happen. It might be at a conference or it might be at Starbucks in the morning. Always be ready and waiting to make that next, crucial connection.

Bonus Tip: Invest in a conversation piece. With a simple outfit, they grab attention and can start conversations. Mine is a pair of saddle shoes that no one can believe I got from Payless.

3. “Let Me Give You My Card.”

There is nothing more important than making sure that you leave a conversation with a person’s card and they leave with yours. Invest in nice, eye-catching business cards that stand out amongst the 50 other cards people get at conferences. Also, don’t forget to send a quick “Nice Meeting You” email after big events to keep the conversation going.

Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to get creative. Horror filmmaker, Lynne Hansen, leaves “I Make Films Like a Girl” buttons at every film festival she attends. By the end of the festival, everyone knows her name.
Courtesy of “I Make Films Like a Girl” Facebook page

4. Have to Go to Conversations Starts

Small talk sometimes is a good way to start a conversation, but are cliché and die off quickly. Prep some interesting topics in your field that will not only make you memorable but will also impress the other side of the conversation. If they think you know what you’re talking about, they will be more likely to come to you in a pinch.

Bonus Tip: Want to speak with the expert from that panel you loved? Don’t be afraid to wait on the edges after to speak one-on-one with them and ask in-depth questions about the topic. It shows your initiative.

 

Influence Through Creativity

Artists are more powerful than anyone could imagine. While many believe that schools should focus on technology and science, the arts have been increasingly overlooked. It’s unfortunate, especially considering how much influence art has on the way our culture thinks.

After all, the pen has always been mightier than the sword for a reason.

Courtesy of Kaboompics

Why Are People Afraid of Artists?

Humanity has seen millions of weapons from the spear to the machine gun. When we started using atomic bombs, humanity thought they perfected weaponry. However, what most people don’t realize is that weapons were perfected a long time before. They are pens, paint, and paper.

Tyrants have always been afraid of artists. It doesn’t matter where they publish their art, in a gallery or a newspaper. The influence their creations have to speak for themselves. Michelangelo’s art and sciences have made him a master of Renaissance thinking. Elie Wiesel wrote his account of the Holocaust and making every reader a witness to Hitler’s atrocities. Political cartoons and satire news reflect the incompetence of politicians throughout history.

Tyrants know this. It’s why propaganda has become a powerful tool for every dictator in history. It’s also why they push out any other voices that want to create something different.

Courtesy of Kaboompics

The Power of the Modern Artist

Artists and the businesses that employ them serve as powerful influencers over the way we think about the world around us. They influence our opinions, make us think in a different perspective.

This has never been truer than today. There are a plethora of ways for an artist to spread their messages: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, online stores, Netflix. You name it, artists have probably found a way to use it.

How YOU Can Have the Power

While it has never been easier for artists to promote their personal work, it is also easier to find talented artists to hire and create personalized art for your business. It could be a commercial, a poster, or a blog post. This power of creativity has the ability of not only growing your brand but also help change your customer’s image of the world.

 

 

 

Influence Marketing: What is an Influencer?

I mention the term “Influencer,” quite a bit on this website. Some of you might be wondering what an influencer even is?

The simple answer is the French term for “influencer.” However, the term has gained all new meaning in marketing. An “influencer” is a specific individual a company uses to market their product or service rather than targets a single market.

Influencers used to only be celebrities. Popular singers have their faces on magazines. Athletes pose for cereal boxes. You even see actors in weird perfume ads. (Honestly, those ads make no sense to me.)

With social media and YouTube being more diverse than ever, marketers have shifted their attention to these homemade celebrities to promote for them.

Imagine “The Joneses,” but with modern technology. You see an Instagrammer living the high life and wonder, “What do they have that I don’t?” They start promoting products and you think, “Oh, that’s why!”

Influencers can affect any market. Make-up companies send to samples to creators or popular make-up tutorials. Airlines send Instagrammers on elaborate vacations. Twitter gets people elected with the right following.

Our society’s attracted to living a certain way.  We’re pulled towards a certain aesthetic of life. Look back at popular trends: the rocker grunge of the 80s, the hippie movement of the 70s, the housewives of the 50s. Each of these trends inspires a specific aesthetic or image. An influencer brings that image to life. They make it real, tangible.

How do I become an influencer?

Becoming an influencer means a lot of hustle, developing contacts, learning social media, and, most of all, creating content. Here are just a few tips to achieving that “influencer” status.

-You need to find a niche, a market that needs YOUR brand to make it better.

-Use social media. This is more important than ever before. More people are using Facebook to look up business rating. Many customers use Twitter to ask questions or complain. If you don’t have a social media account already, get one TODAY!

-Create a “face.” As a writer, I love blogs. I love articles. I hate to admit it, but most people would rather watch a 3-minute video than read a whole article.  What is good about videos, though, is that fact that it gives your brand a face and a voice. It humanizes your product.

-Content, content, content. Content makes a huge difference in search engines. A website without content will rank lower on a Google search than one with content. Make videos. Write blogs posts. Work social media. Do everything listed above until someone sees you as a person who can influence a target demographic.

Don’t have time to do all of that. Luckily, I may know a person who can help you with that. Many companies hire outside content creators, like Write Mind Media, to develop a voice and an image that customers can trust. Don’t be shy. We’re here to help. 

Want to learn more about influencers?

Here are a few of our favorites!

Kalyn Nicholson: Lifestyle video blogger with over 1 million followers on YouTube.

Miranda Sings: Also known as Colleen Ballinger, her alter-ego’s YouTube channel has 7 million followers. Since her popularity on YouTube, she has produced a comedy tour, a Netflix series, and her own book.

Lilly Singh: Comedy Youtuber with 11 million followers. Recently published “How to be a Bawse.”

Todrick Hall: After failing on reality singing shows, this influencer thrived on YouTube with fun music videos. This led him to produce his own MTV show, a lead part on Broadway, and guest appearances on shows like “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.” Plus, a shout-out from Beyoncé!

Eh Bee Family: This family of four is a perfect example of influencer marketing. Their hilarious vines lead to major vacations and even a visit to the set of “Wonder Woman.”