Skip to content
O'Reilly home
Interface Design

Empathy at work

Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.

How to find the best solution for all involved in any situation—especially those that are uncomfortable or difficult

April 15, 2019

12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Coordinated Universal Time

This event has ended.

What you’ll learn and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • The value of empathy at work and how that value drives individual and team output
  • How to incorporate empathy in a corporate environment for improved productivity and collaboration
  • How to communicate with empathy by understanding how to best approach conversations with the result in mind
  • How to operationalize empathy on teams with a simple process to have on hand when conversations and interactions take a turn for the worse

And you’ll be able to:

  • Identify the daily actions that cultivate empathy and those that sabotage it
  • Approach conversations more intentionally and strategically using language that leverages principles of empathy

This live event is for you because…

  • You're a people manager or high-potential young leader with at least three years of work experience, and you need to overcome toxic cultures and disengaged teams.
  • You're a working professional with at least five years experience, and you need to improve the way you communicate with coworkers across teams and departments to build products that will delight your audience.


  • At least three years of professional experience

Recommended preparation:


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing.

Introduction (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: Introductions; Sharon’s path to empathy; Sharon’s definition of empathy
  • Group discussion: Defining empathy on your terms (“Defining Empathy at Work” handout)

A real-world definition of professional empathy (30 minutes)

  • Lecture: Why empathy is important; defining empathy; what an empathetic system looks like, from leadership to management to employees; the results of professional empathy
  • Group discussion: When have you felt that you’ve been successful with empathy at work? When have you felt you failed? (“Defining Empathy at Work” handout)
  • Break (10 minutes)

Empathetic communication at work (50 minutes)

  • Group discussion: What empathy actions do you feel are the most impactful?
  • Lecture: Why having empathy isn’t the same as displaying empathy—empathy is a verb, and we must actively engage in it daily to see any real change; defining empathetic communication—how to approach conversations and interactions from a place of empathy, what empathetic communication looks and feels like, empathy versus sympathy; bridging empathy and thoughtfulness
  • Hands-on exercise: Empathy language versus sympathy language—come up with responses that are sympathetic and ones that are empathetic
  • Break (10 minutes)

Operationalizing empathy in professional settings (50 minutes)

  • Lecture: Breaking down the three steps to attain the correct empathy mindset—patience, perspective, and connection; attaching actions to each of those steps—what patience looks and feels like in real time, how to identify what the core issue is in order to gain perspective, how to formulate your response so that it gets your message across and helps foster a solid connection
  • Group discussion: How do you handle being wrong? Consider the scenarios you wrote about in your “Defining Empathy at Work” handout. How would you have approached those situations from a place of empathy? What would have been the result of the situation if you’d done that the first time?

Wrap-up and Q&A (10 minutes)

Your Instructor

  • Sharon Steed

    Sharon Steed is an international keynote speaker and the founder of Communilogue, an empathy consultancy. Sharon helps audiences revolutionize the way they think about work by teaching them principles of empathy. She's spoken at over 75 events in 11 countries spanning three continents on communicating with empathy. She has spoken at companies on improving team communication and collaboration; at tech conferences on vulnerability as an asset; and has given a TEDx talk on empowering insecurities. A lifelong stutterer, she uses her speech impediment to teach both what empathy is and how to be empathetic. Sharon’s course Communicating with Empathy has close to 300,000 views; it's available on LinkedIn.

Start your free 10-day trial

Get started

Want to learn more at events like these?

Get full access to O'Reilly online learning for 10 days—free.

  • checkmark50k+ videos, live online training, learning paths, books, and more.
  • checkmarkBuild playlists of content to share with friends and colleagues.
  • checkmarkLearn anywhere with our iOS and Android apps.
Start Free TrialNo credit card required.