The digital world has made it easier than ever to connect with people from all over the world. Ironically, it’s also made it easier to feel more disconnected from our own humanity. With the overload of information at our fingertips and the rise of AI, it can make it even more tricky to forge those genuine human connections we crave.
In the podcast episode “Empathy in the Digital World,” Chatterkick’s CEO Beth Trejo, discusses some of the challenges of empathy in the digital world and offers some tips for how to be more empathetic online, even with AI.
Navigating Digital Barriers
One of the biggest barriers of empathy in the digital world is the lack of nonverbal cues. In face-to-face communication, we rely on nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice to understand the emotions of the person we are interacting with. As Beth puts it, “In face-to-face communication, we can see the person’s facial expressions and body language. But in digital communication, we don’t have these cues.”
Another challenge is anonymity. In the digital world, we can often hide behind our screens and pretend to be someone we are not. Which makes it easier to be rude or disrespectful to others without fear of repercussion.
“Choose words that are kind and respectful, even if you are disagreeing with someone.”
And when you’re trying to convey your emotions or make your messages more personal, a little emoji never hurt either 😉.
Understanding Empathy in Remote Teams
Empathy in the digital realm, especially with remote teams, is not without its challenges.
In the podcast, Beth recalls personal experiences that taught her the importance of respecting individual emotional responses. Understanding team members personally can significantly streamline managing their personal and professional challenges. If you genuinely know your team, you can guide them through personal challenges while still keeping the business on track. Yes, some tasks are time-sensitive, but if someone is in emotional turmoil, expecting their peak performance might be unrealistic and counterproductive.
A Few Quick Tips from Beth:
Forge Real Relationships: Beth emphasizes the importance of genuine connections. She engages with her employees, listens deeply, and tries to understand their lives outside of work. It’s not just about ‘hearing’; it’s about ‘understanding.’ This helps in fostering trust and building a more cohesive team.
Stay Curious: Why do people behave the way they do? Beth believes in the power of curiosity. Asking questions, trying to grasp the world from another’s viewpoint—these practices can lead to greater empathy and understanding.
Building Trust is a Marathon, Not a Sprint: Trust takes time. “I think it’s important to remember that empathy is a skill that takes time and practice to develop,” said Beth. “Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right away. Just keep trying and you’ll get better at it.”
How AI Can Help
AI can be a powerful tool for improving our efforts to be more empathetic. Whether it’s analyzing emotions in text, generating empathetic customer service scripts, or moderating harmful content, AI can be a game-changer.
Beth uses AI to refine her communication but warns, “I always say, have it get you to 80 percent, because the 20 percent is where you as a human, really need to work.” AI, in her eyes, isn’t a solution in itself but a “personal training tool” that aids our human touch.
The Bottom Line
Empathy is the foundation for building strong, genuine relationships, even online. With AI as an ally, we can create more space for us to build a more compassionate and connected digital world. CTA
The Chatterkick team is made up of envelope-pushers, big thinkers, brainstormers, and conversation starters. We live and breathe social media advertising and all its analytics and data. We love to create engaged, happy social media communities around businesses, and we are dedicated to creating a glowing brand reputation, culture, and voice for our clients. This blog was brought to you in collaboration with multiple Chatterkick team members. Follow me on Twitter