Empathy For Idiots: Becoming A Better Partner To Your Clients

Session Speaker(s): 
Sunday, November 9 2014
Room: Warp Zone
Time: 11:30am - 12:00pm

Nightmare clients. Everyone has them at one time or another. They ask for absurd combinations of features and no budget to support them. They ask for work to be done on ridiculously tight deadlines. 

We rage about these clients. If only they knew better. If only they would listen to us. If only they weren't so...so stupid. 

The reality is, these clients have a reality of their own. They are dealing with the pressures and requirements of their business, many of which are only loosely connected our work. Some of the decisions they make have drivers that may not be immediately apparent to us. If we start trying to see how their business looks from their perspective, they may start to seem less crazy to us. 

Engaging our clients with empathy allows us to go beyond just "doing work" for them. It sets up a relationship with the client that allows us to start the design and development process from the right assumptions. We become a partner to them in their business, see what their goals actually are, and are able to give them the guidance and advice that they truly need. 

In this short talk, we will look at how focusing on empathy with clients can improve our working relationship with them. Empathy can build trust and allow us to make the best decisions from a well-informed perspective. It might also save our sanity.