Empathy is an important skill for all of us. The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes helps you to understand their situation. And if you understand, you will be able to treat them with compassion.

I recently heard an example of someone putting himself in the shoes of others. Depsite being a low-stakes example—it’s not about happiness or health or safety—it makes the point.

In our office, we frequently talk about not using jargon and technical terms when talking with our clients. Our job is to make our clients’ lives easier. When we pepper our speech and our e-mails with jargon, that doesn’t meet that stated purpose.

One of my daughters is studying to be a special-ed teacher and one of my work colleagues was telling me his wife teaches kids with special needs. Neither of us is an expert, but both of us know a bit about the world of special-ed because of our family members.

As we spoke, I used a special-ed-related acronym and wanted to be sure he was familiar with it. He was and then he told me his wife uses acronyms all the time when she talks about her job, and he often has no idea what they mean.

He explained how his experience on the receiving end of jargon reinforced his already-held belief that acronyms bother clients, and helped him to clearly understand why he should never use them at work.

What are some experiences you have had that helped you understand what it’s like to be in others’ shoes? Please join the conversation with your comments…

Best regards,