8: Empathise, empathise, empathise

8: Empathise, empathise, empathise

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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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 Busuttil is a freelance head of product, product management coach and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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