Energy plus Engagement = Power!

Tom is struggling with getting the car in gear. It’s a small Kia, manual, right-hand drive. As an American he’s used to automatic, left-hand drive. Actually he’s a World traveller and has driven cars in all parts of the World. But this Kia’s gearbox holds some challenges for him. I’m in Eire, in Wexford, guest of my good friends Christine and Tom Harvey who are enjoying a house swap for 6 weeks; and a rented Kia!
So the engine is revving but we’re not going anywhere. I know there’s a message here for me – it’s fine for me to have lots of energy and enthusiasm but if it’s not connected to anything then I’m not going anywhere. There’s energy but no real Power. I need to engage my enthusiasm with a vision, a plan, a project timeline, or whatever I call my method of getting going. Connect your enthusiasm to a plan or a vision and you’ll get Power – potentially an unstoppable force to accomplish something worthwhile. Now it is also true that simply creating plan or a vision can create an enthusiasm to achieve it, but if you’re not getting to where you want to be then you might want to look at your enthusiasm or your engagement, or both.
Empathy Styles ( shows us that each of the 7 styles has its own way of combining these two elements of life. The most powerful with the most focus is the Politician who’ll be very clear about what needs to be done, and it will get done. The Hustler has a different way of getting things done but will still be effective.
The Engineer will have both the plan and the willingness to engage with it although the final result will take its own time. At least having the Engineer involved we know the final solution will work! The Normal also has an orderly way of getting things done – it may not be exciting but it will be logical.
The 3 styles who have most difficulty with combining Enthusiasm with Engagement are the Mover (lots of energy but if there’s no plan will easily be distracted); the Double-Checker (quite capable of creating a plan but will need help getting started); and the Artist (great at dreaming of a great vision but little sense of urgency – “I’ll do it when I’m ready”!)
Of course we’re all a combination of Empathy Styles (thank goodness) which gives me, at least, hope! As a strong Normal, Double-Checker, Artist I have my own challenge to engage my variable enthusiasm. I know that I can create a great vision but I also know that I have to work to overcome my inertia and doubts to create value for myself and others.
So where do you sit with this – what are your strong Empathy styles? And how does that relate to your enthusiasm and your engagement? If you’re lucky to have two or more styles that combine well to produce both Enthusiasm and Engagement you are indeed fortunate. I’d love to hear from you about how you get to produce things worthwhile.
Visit to discover your strong Empathy Styles, or to learn more about Empathy Styles.
Or contact me at or +44 (0) 207 100 2520

Watching spiders – they don’t need to understand Empathy!

So there it is – just outside my window – a garden spider, of the larger variety. And I notice 3 things: how perfectly it creates its web; how easily flies get caught in it; and the speed at which it moves from the centre of the web to wrap up the ensnared prey. Two things occur to me in relation to Sales.
First, if you want sales or contacts, you’ve got to have a device for getting them. You have to create something that’s going to work!
Second, when something does come within your ‘catchment’ you have to move fast to capitalise on it. (It’s amazing how fast the spider moves across its web without getting caught up itself)
When I think about my own sales experience over 30 years, I realise that I’ve done both. At times I’ve had superb sales mechanisms for generating business and at other times I’ve been in a muddle with leads and lacked the enthusiasm or drive to follow them up. My understanding of my Empathy Styles profile (see helps me to see what happens.
Of the 7 Empathy styles, I’m a high in Normal, Double-Checker and Artist. Now, we know that these are very powerful underlying drives and as such they’re not logical, they’re emotional. And when I allow myself to be taken over by them, I can find myself worrying whether it’s the right thing to do (the Normal); whether I can do it (the Double-Checker); and whether I can do it perfectly (the Artist). Anyone of which can halt my progress immediately, if I let it.
But when I go back to my training in sales then I pick up the phone, start making contacts, get on with it, and in no time can inspire myself to keep going. Then something really magical happens. I start generating business!
So my invitation is for you to notice your Empathy Styles profile (your emotional drives), but don’t let it rule your life, particularly your sales or business life. Instead follow the spider’s example, which knows how flies behave and builds its web accordingly. Notice how other people get ‘caught’ in their own Empathy Styles and allow themselves to be driven by their emotions. With a greater understanding of Empathy Styles you can understand yourself better and more importantly can realise how to appeal to your prospects, emotionally, which is ultimately what appeals to us all.

Empathy Styles and friendship – how does that work?

I caught Thought for the Day on the Today programme on Radio 4 last Friday. The speaker was talking about Cardinal Newman and his up-coming beatification on Sunday. The discussion was around the search for truth about which the Cardinal had written: “men must have chronic familiarity to understand each other for truth slowly sinks into the mind”. And while I didn’t get the complete sense of that immediately the phrase “chronic familiarity” seemed to strike a chord with me as it made me think of friendship.

Years ago when I used to give a seminar on Time Management we spoke about the value of friends and how easy it is to get busy and lose touch with those we love. I would ask the audience if they remembered about friends. I joked that friends were the people who knew all about us and still liked us (I don’t claim that that is original!) – they didn’t want to sell us anything nor did they want to marry us.

My own recollection is of Peter, my best friend until we went to different schools and somehow lost touch, even though we still only lived 200 yards from each other. He was the youngest of 7 boys so his mother was used to having kids in and out of the house all the time. I could have knocked on their door at any time and would be welcomed in and given a biscuit and orange squash without any reason being asked for.

So what now of friends? I literally thank God for all the people that know all about me and still like me. And as my thoughts turn to Empathy as we develop a new website, I’m wondering how many of our friends are actually very different from us in Empathy terms. In other words having very different temperaments from us and we still like them. How come we know and like these people and yet can so easily scorn the behaviour of others who may be similarly different? Could it be that in taking a moment longer (or maybe in some cases, several moments!) to get to know someone of a very different Empathy style they could eventually become a friend?

So perhaps looking to understand friendship through an understanding of Empathy is one of those life situations, like romantic love, where our Empathy style is not the most important element. Perhaps something else is going on which may have to do with understanding or love or helpfulness or maybe it’s just plain ‘chronic familiarity’. (And for me, I discovered a year ago where Peter is now living, or rather he found me, and although we haven’t met up yet, we will. But I know that we will have lost that ‘chronic familiarity’ that we had as 9 year olds.)

Please contact me for more information on Empathy Styles – I’m always happy to answer questions – or 0845 122 7117

Where are you headed?

I’ve done a bit of sailing over the last few years and I’m not very good at it. I know I’m not a natural sailor. But one thing I have realised is that when we see another vessel who’s going to cross our path, even though they may be miles away, we make sure that our boat makes a deliberate movement away from the other boat. We let the other boat know clearly what our intended course is so it can go its own way.

I’ve also noticed this in high streets with lots of people milling around. It’s actually quite difficult to change direction quickly particularly if you’ve got up a head of steam or if you’re pushing a pram and someone steps into your path. For smooth running we need to signal to people what we’re going to do. People need to know which way you’re going – what your intentions are.

And, of course, this isn’t just about the high seas or the high street. It’s about our businesses and our lives.

So I’m thinking about Empathy Styles – how does this work for the different styles? Politicians have no problem with this – they’ve made up their minds, set their course and off they go – and, by the way, they won’t be giving way! Normals are also good at direction setting though they’ll be more likely to change direction if it isn’t working, logically. Hustlers will take the route that best suits their purpose, and will be on the lookout for opportunities and bargains along the way. So if you’re shopping with one expect a sudden change of direction when a shiny new something is spotted in a window over there.

Movers are interesting – I don’t think direction and purpose are words that Movers really understand. They’re more interested in energy, relationships, fun and movement, no matter which direction it’s in – “let’s get going, now” might be their motto. Double-Checkers could take a leaf out of the Mover’s book and get going, even though, sometimes it’ll be in the wrong direction! After all if you want to turn a bus around it’s much less effort to get it started and then drive it around to face the other way, rather than picking it up and manhandling it.

That leaves us with Engineers and Artists. The Engineer will get going, once they’ve done the planning and the research. They may not be the quickest, but they will arrive – remember the tortoise and the hare – and the finished project will actually work! And finally, the Artist. The Artist can be a bit of a dreamer – “I’d love to write a book” or learn a musical instrument or paint. How many of us have heard that from our friends, family or even ourselves? And how difficult it can be to get started. Why? Maybe because it has to be perfect in their mind and it won’t be perfect because they can’t do it. Try arguing them out of that one! (I’ve just started to learn the alto sax after a lifetime of wanting to do it – it’s great and why didn’t I do it 20 or 30 years ago??)

So, whatever your Empathy Style is, my invitation is to make up your mind, set your direction, let others know quite clearly where you’re going, and then get going. And if your intentions are strong enough, just watch people move out of your way. In fact, notice how many people and the universe will help you to get to where you want to go.

Are you trapped by your Empathy Style?

I watched the film The Truman Show recently and it occurred to me that there were some parallels with Empathy Styles. In the film Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, the star of a TV show. But he doesn’t know that he’s on TV! Everyone in his life – friends, relatives and work colleagues – are actors, all playing a part in his life inside a huge studio which looks like the ‘real world’. Everywhere there are hidden cameras watching his life and broadcasting live to the world.

Eventually, in his 30’s, he realises that something is wrong and he finally manages to get out. There is a parallel to Empathy Styles here. In the same way that Truman is caught in the world that has been made up by the director of the TV show, we can get caught in our own Empathy style. We can tend to believe that that because we are strong, medium or weak in whatever styles we are, that is how we have to behave.

Actually we can behave in any way that we choose to. Often I notice other people being ‘effective’ by behaving in an appropriate way to get the result that they (and others) need at that moment. So, for example, for a while the Double-Checker becomes decisive, the Politician reveals their compassionate side and the Engineer realises that other people don’t need all the details of their project.

One way of looking at Empathy Styles is to believe that it is not ‘hard-wired’ into us and that we can change. You don’t need to be locked into your Empathy Styles – you can be who you want to be. So, if the way you typically do something is frustrating to you, or you believe you could be more effective, why not try out a different approach today and see what happens?

Bringing Empathy Alive

Empathy Training has completed a short film describing the Empathy Approach as part of its marketing strategy for 2009. View the results here!

Helping Professionals Sell Using Empathy Styles

Jim Wigg of Epicurean Associates recently ran a successful seminar helping professionals to sell using the Empathy Styles approach. Click here for a review from one of the attendees.

What’s the difference between a ‘type’ and a ‘trait’ model?

Most of us will come across psychological theories which are either based on an analysis of ‘traits’ or ‘types’.

Simply put, ‘traits’ are the “enduring ways in which we perceive, relate to and think about our environment and ourselves”. For example, there is one personality theory which identifies 5 dimensions:

1.    Extraversion – outgoing and stimulation-oriented vs. quiet and stimulation-avoiding
2.    Neuroticism – emotionally reactive, prone to negative emotions vs. calm, imperturbable
3.    Agreeableness – affable, friendly, conciliatory vs. aggressive, dominant, disagreeable
4.    Conscientiousness – dutiful, planful, and orderly vs. laidback, spontaneous, and unreliable
5.    Openness to experience – open to new ideas and change vs. traditional and oriented toward routine

A true psychometric test will measure how strongly each of these factors is present in a person – not just whether it’s present or not. It will measure, for example, where a person sits on a scale from complete Extraversion to complete Introversion.

In contrast, ‘Type’ theories assess people according to whether they have one ‘type’ or not. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), for example, assesses 4 sets of 2 factors:

Extraversion or Introversion
Sensing or intuition
Thinking or Feeling
Judging or Perceiving

So with the MBTI a person is assessed as one of 16 possible ‘types’ for example, ENTJ, ISFP, ESFJ and so on.

Empathy is a mixture of ‘trait’ and ‘type’ theory. It describes which ‘type’ a person may be – for example, Politician. But it goes beyond this by identifying how strongly present the different ‘traits’ are that make up the Politician style. So, for example, if we recognise the Politician style in someone, we would say that he/she has strong, average or weak Politician. This means that a unique combination of styles is possible and that a person’s behaviour (possibly stemming at that moment from their temperament) can be described in a unique way. And, of course, this is all achieved without the need for a questionnaire!

Time to get in touch – even with the difficult characters!

Goethe said “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, do now. Boldness has genius and magic in it.”

Clement W. Stone, one of the top insurance salespeople in the US in the 70’s said “Whatever the mind can believe the person can achieve”

What is it that stops us from doing the things that we want to do? The belief that we can’t actually do it, or wondering what other people might think, or …………. what? Think back to the time when you ‘put your head above the parapet’ and did something extraordinary – something that you really wanted to do. We have that power – the power to be extraordinary, and yet for many of us it lies dormant for much of the time. Much of the time it doesn’t perhaps matter that we don’t do what we really want to do – as we’ve never done it, we’ve lost nothing – we just end up disappointed, perhaps saying “If only…” or preferably, “Next time….”.

But in this market, at this time, as salespeople (and we subscribe to the view that if you’re in business then you’re in sales) we need to dream of the possibilities and then we need to connect with that ‘dream’ and be bold and make it come true.

Gray said that the difference between top performers and those who weren’t was simply that the top performers did the things that others won’t do – mostly around contacting people – they would contact the people that others wouldn’t.

So, today, do the things that you need to do – do the things that others won’t – be bold, pick up the phone and call those people. If you need some help with an approach for these people then pick up the phone and contact us on 01628 671 677.

I’ve used the word ‘need’ in the above paragraph but, in my experience, ‘need’ doesn’t work – how many of us need to get fit etc, and then how many of us actually do anything about it from that place of need?

I was once given the shortest time management course ever – “You will do what you want to do” – it could be as simple as that. If you want it you’ll do it; if you don’t want it you won’t do it. The challenge then becomes “how do I (make myself?) want to do something enough for me to do the things that I don’t want to do?” Belief is the answer – belief that you do want it – is that what you really, really want? Or would you rather go to sleep?

The other approach is to bring it into existence – bring it into the world – speak about it, write it down, live as though it’s happening now. Hence comes the warning, “Be careful what you wish for (because you may just get it!)”

Welcome to Empathy Styles!

We all do things in different ways. We all communicate in different ways. Just consider the differences in communication with a boss and a grandparent. What’s more, we probably think that ‘0ur’ way is best.

Empathy Styles is an approach which allows us to understand ourselves, the temperaments of others and how we can work together to everyone’s benefit. When was the last time you really changed your approach to your work colleagues, your partner or your children to fit in with their personality?

We offer people the diamond rule…

…treat people as they want to be treated!