Improving your empathy is a key to increasing your conference profit.
Many conference organizers and hosts think that empathy has no place in their conference business. They believe that registration systems, schedules, speaker management tools, marketing, social media and conference attendee, exhibitor and sponsor forecasts are more important.
But their view is wrong. At least that’s what author and Lady Geek CEO Belinda Parmar says. They are “unequivocally, unforgivably and irremediably wrong.”
You’re Invited To An Empathy Revolution
The empathy era is ushering in a corporate revolution says Parmar.
And you need to apply it to your conference planning and implementation.
Empathy is a hard communication skill. Employing empathy can increase trust and trust drives profits says Parmar.
Empathy is also a personal engagement tool. It’s about connecting and communicating with our conference attendees.
Empathy is putting yourself in your attendees’ shoes, feeling what they feel and seeing the conference experience from their perspective. Then you can anticipate what they want, need and require—sometimes even before they realize it.
“People do not know what they want. Empathy is about enchanting people and being one step ahead to give them what they want,” says Judi James, communication expert and author.
Empathy Is Not…
Empathy is not sympathetic condescension.
Nor is it a fake, painted clown smile.
Nor is a set of procedures to make conference attendees feel welcome, valuable or comfortable.
Empathy is not an empty-headed exercise in people-pleasing either.
Empathy is often mistaken for sympathy.
We feel sympathy for others. Empathy is when we feel with others.
The Minutiae Militia
Too many conferences are planned and ruled by the minutiae mercenaries.
These people only care about logistics, details and stats. They are about controlling things and people.
They often see empathy as a weakness.
The minutiae militia is also the conference systemizers. They bury their own feelings under systematic conditioning. They prefer rules and procedures.
They have no idea how their lists, itemizations and details actually affect the paying attendee.
They are empathy deficit. They rarely think about how their logistics impact the attendee experience. They favor efficiency over effectiveness. They prefer sameness and stagnation over change.
We Need Strategic Empathy
We need conference organizers that can understand both the logistics systems and attendee empathy. Both skills can be learned and developed.
We need conference organizers that adopt strategic empathy.
Strategic empathy is the building of shared emotional connections to motivate people to do things.
We need new methods to embed strategic empathy into the conference culture. We need new ways to help all conference staff, leadership and volunteers to adopt, build and use strategic empathy.
Knowing how and when to deploy empathy skills puts a conference organizer in a position of strength. It allows an organizer and her team to tune into the paying registrant and engage them.
Employing strategic empathy creates a positive emotional connection between you as conference host and the paying attendee. It helps them trust you. And it helps them believe you.
Strategic empathy combines the three pillars of empathy: emotion, reassurance and authenticity. It engages the customer. And when put into practice, strategic empathy pays.
What happens to a conference if the conference host and staff do not show attendee empathy? Why is “treat others as you want to be treated” a bad motto for strategic empathy?
Read more about customer empathy and conference experience: