Empathy is merely the process of understanding what the other side is thinking or feeling. In terms of persuasion, it can be used to make the other side feel understood and disarm them due to this.
Empathy is a great technique to use, in specific, when the other side is emotional – when they have high amygdala activation (when the person is angry, in denial, in a crisis, or similar). In these cases, people create a conflict, which can usually be diagnosed as being one of two types: hot or cold:
- Hot conflicts are when the person is aggressive, intimidating or similar, and empathy helps ramp them down;
- Cold conflicts are when the person is withdrawing, not communicating, keeping things to themselves, and empathy helps them be more transparent;