As the artificial intelligence revolution roars on, its no wonder that we worry about whether we will have a job in the future The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 400 million to 800 million of today’s jobs will be automated by 2030.

Which is why we are looking at the conscious human skills that will stand the test of time and technology in this series on having the X Factor? This time we are looking at empathy which is something AI currently cant do, and it will be one of the most sought after skills in the future. Whether your in customer service, sales or leadership, having the ability to be genuinely empathetic will give you the X Factor and mean you are never out of a job!

To start using empathy more effectively, consider the following:

1. Put aside your viewpoint, and try to see things from the other person’s point of view.
When you do this, you’ll realise that other people most likely aren’t being evil, unkind, stubborn, or unreasonable – they’re probably just reacting to the situation with the knowledge they have.

2. Validate the other person’s perspective.
Once you “see” why others believe what they believe, acknowledge it. Remember: acknowledgment does not always equal agreement. You can accept that people have different opinions from your own, and that they may have good reason to hold those opinions.

3. Examine your attitude.
Are you more concerned with getting your way, winning, or being right? Or, is your priority to find a solution, build relationships, and accept others? Without an open mind and attitude, you probably won’t have enough room for empathy.

4. Listen.
Listen to the entire message that the other person is trying to communicate.

  • Listen with your ears – what is being said, and what tone is being used?
  • Listen with your eyes – what is the person doing with his or her body while speaking?
  • Listen with your instincts – do you sense that the person is not communicating something important?
  • Listen with your heart – what do you think the other person feels?

5. Ask what the other person would do.
When in doubt, get the person to explain his position. This is probably the simplest, and most direct, way to understand the other person. However, it’s probably the least used way to develop empathy.

It’s fine if you ask what the other person wants: you don’t earn any “bonus points” for figuring it out on your own.

6. Go the extra mile and actually offer help or support
It’s a small think but the other day I was in a Costa Coffee and I ordered a porridge, I asked if it was sweetened and she said no but there was sugar “over there” she must have noticed my face and to my surprise she said “ I guess that’s not very healthy is it, I can try and find you some honey if you like” I was then able to enjoy my porridge with some lovely honey. So look for ways you can really do something to demonstrate your empathy it really helps the other person to feel valued.

Practice these skills when you interact with people. You’ll likely appear much more caring and approachable – simply because you increase your interest in what others think, feel, and experience. It’s a great gift to be willing and able to see the world from a variety of perspectives – and it’s a gift that you can use all of the time, in any situation.

Next we look at how being consciously aware of yourself and others will help you to grow and develop.