Why Going Soft Is Good For Business

Dyke Drummond had an interesting quote in a comment to my list of entrepreneurship traits post last week:

And I agree about EMPATHY. I think it is a very underused term because people think it is “Soft” … and it is the core of any successful marketing campaign. You must be able to put yourself into the shoes of your prospect.

Me, I’m soft, and that’s good.

In a world that people like to divide into techie vs. fuzzy, I like fuzzy. You could call that liberal arts vs. science and engineering, if you’d like. I don’t care, because, after all, I’m a fuzzy.

In response to my confusing numbers with truth post last week, Kevin McNulty said:

I disagree: data is by definition a body of facts. Misrepresenting data or drawing poor conclusions is the problem.

And I disagreed back: Data is not necessarily facts. “Misrepresenting data and drawing poor conclusions” is commonplace, more the rule than the exception. It’s built into misunderstanding people, stories, truth, and uncertainty. Truth is in stories, not facts; and much less research.

And empathy leads to success way more often than research, data, or facts. Stay soft. It’s good for business.


  • Step-Up Finance says:

    We couldn’t agree more. Mediating for small business we’re proud to be ‘fuzzy’ because there is always a story behind the numbers and empathy is the key to understanding those numbers and that business story.

  • Alyson Innes says:

    I whole-heartedly agree about being “fuzzy”. Even as a litigator, when it comes to contact with my clients and opposing parties I strive to be empathetic and warm as well as “fuzzy”. I have found that if you can at least try to understand and appreciate the other person’s position, then you will get futher in your endeavor (be it litigation or customer service). Be empathetic and figure out the motiviation.

    Being a fuzzy litigator who tries hard to appreciate and decipher the “facts” as presented by all involved has not only served my clients’ interests, but my business interest as well. Empathy does not prevent me from being a strong, assertive litigator; instead, it affords me a greater understanding of all issues making me a better advocate for my client.

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