What is Empathy Training?

Updated: Jan 19

Empathy training is ..... Learning how to LISTEN, CONNECT, CARE and RESPOND.

Empathy sometimes feels like one of those hard-to-define words - like culture.

You're not quite sure what it actually means and what should you be doing. As a result, people often shy away from empathy because #feelwhattheyfeel can seem too big, too scary and too personally challenging. However, inadvertently making people feel devalued can be disastrous for your relationships and your business.

The goal of Empathy First empathy training is to create happier, healthier, more effective workplaces and communities - and save lives - through empathy. While there are actually 3 types of empathy, the type of empathy that we focus on is - compassionate empathy is the ability to share and understand the feelings of another person - and respond appropriately.

What empathy training IS - and what it definitely ISN'T in 90 seconds.

Empathy training is ..... Learning how to LISTEN, CONNECT, CARE and RESPOND.

Learning how to listen and connect in a way that is:

  • safe,

  • not scary,

  • accessible,

  • self-reflective,

  • memorable,

  • respectful of everyone's boundaries - including yours,

  • easy to apply,

  • not depleting or draining,

  • enjoyable,

  • AND makes people feel VALUED because you care for them in the way that THEY need.

Achieve this and you will strengthen your relationships, build greater staff, customer and brand loyalty and create a happier, healthier, more sustainable business.

Empathy Training is not exclusively for leaders. It is for anyone who interacts with humans: managers, supervisors, customer service staff, professionals in any field, entrepreneurs, freelancers.

Empathy is essential in the workplace. High levels of empathy have been linked with developing stronger levels of trust and connection within teams as well as improved organisational performance. In the service industry, empathy has been shown to reduce anti-social behaviour, discrimination and unethical behaviours. Customer perceptions of an organisation are also influenced by the empathy shown by frontline staff. 

Sales performance has also been found to be higher in empathetic individuals as customers feel heard and are more trusting of the salesperson and have higher levels of satisfaction. Negative interactions resulting in dissatisfaction by customers can result in poor brand reputation as people are more like to share negative experiences via word of mouth and social media. (Check out my podcast on Empathy in Sales HERE)

In addition, employees of leaders who lack empathy are likely to feel less involved, appreciated or rewarded and view the organisation in a negative way. One survey found that 82% of employees would consider leaving their job for a more empathetic employer and 72% of CEO claimed the state of empathy in their organisation needed to improve (Check out my podcast on Empathy in Leadership HERE)

If you want a profitable, sustainable company and a happy and healthy workforce but don’t know how to achieve both, AND you have had enough of check lists and posters that tell people about mental health rather than experiencing how to empathise first-hand, then empathy training will benefit you and your teams.

(Think empathy training isn't for you? Chances are, it is. A recent report by businessolver found the difference between how empathetic you think you are and your empathy as perceived by others is over 30%!)

Keen to learn more about empathy training for your leaders and teams? Head to the Workshops and Speaking Page and submit a Training Enquiry.

Based on my Lose Your Mind Virtual Reality Empathy Training, I have also built two online courses that you can work through at your own pace. We can also discuss working together with your team at your workplace.

Empathy Fundamentals provides a comprehensive suite of resources to understand why empathy matters, what it means to you and how to communicate it more effectively. Work your way through 7 Chapters of engaging videos, self-reflective, practical activities, worksheets and podcasts to support your empathy journey.

5 Practical tips for writing emails that build connection is my new FREE mini-course, which provides the tools you need to be a more effective written communicator - in less than an hour.  

Of course, I’m here to support and guide whatever aspects of empathy you’d like to explore, so If you’d like to discuss other ways of working together, I’d love to hear from you.  

If you want to learn more about empathy in your profession check out The Empathy Podcast and if I haven't interviewed anyone from your profession yet, please reach out.

I look forward to talking with you soon.


Hi! I'm Leanne Butterworth, Empathy Speaker and Educator, University Lecturer and Mental Health Advocate.

Empathy First is a Brisbane-based social enterprise offering Empathy workshops, online courses and individual Empathy coaching to help you build connection and strengthen your relationships for personal and professional success.

Contact me today and let's talk about how you can put Empathy First.

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