8: Empathise, empathise, empathise

8: Empathise, empathise, empathise

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I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

“Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that who cares?… He’s a mile away and you’ve got his shoes.”

Billy Connolly

Empathy is something every product manager needs to be able to do their job well. Without it, it’s impossible to be sure what matters most to your target market and how valuable a solution to their problems will be. Empathise!

By putting yourself in their shoes, you can understand their concerns

When you’re speaking with someone, empathy gives you an edge: by putting yourself in their shoes, you can understand their concerns with the proposal you’re pitching and pre-empt their objections. This is the case whether you’re explaining your roadmap to a valued customer, convincing a salesperson that being the first to sell your new product won’t come back to bite them in the ass, or presenting your business case to the Board.

So put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re speaking with. Just don’t walk off with them.

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Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock is a freelance head of product, author and conference speaker. He has spent nearly two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. His clients include the BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, a product management consultancy and training company. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

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