Empathy in Business and Personal Relationships- Meeting Unmet and Unarticulated Needs


I was watching this interview by Satya Nadela and something that he said kind of got me thinking deep. Some of his ideas surrounding empathy are as below:

“The source of innovation comes from having a deep sense of empathy.”

“…Innovation comes from one’s ability to grasp customers’ unmet, unarticulated needs.”

“…But where does that inspiration for being able to be in touch with that unmet, unarticulated need come from? It comes from empathy — that deep sense of understanding the real needs out there.

In business and personal relationships, one’s ability to understand “unmet, unarticulated needs” of people around us and cater to them is the key to building strong and deep connections.

For instance, I was browsing on Amazon and I came across this AI-powered toothbrush from Oral-B, the concept of which basically blew my mind. Who would in the world have imagined that we’ll be living in a world of Bluetooth connected toothbrushes powered with Artificial Intelligence which can make oral hygiene fun and easy!? Similar is the case with smartwatches that help us stay motivated on our fitness goals. These companies have recognized the “UNARTICULATED” consumer needs.

In personal relationships, has it ever occurred to you that someone got something they “thought you’d like and would be useful to you” without you ever have thought of that item as a necessity on your list?

A few days back, I was talking to a friend over a call and the phone got disconnected – I thought it was due to wifi connectivity issues. When it happened for a 2nd and 3rd time, I got a bit curious and asked. My friend told me that the iPhone battery just dies at the end of the day. Hmmmmmmm……. *Puts on Secret Santa Hat* I sent over a 20K MAH power bank as a surprise Christmas present. 🙂

I wanted to share a few heartwarming instances of empathy and thoughtfulness I’ve been blessed to experience over the years which made me silently shed a tear.

A few years back, one afternoon I get a call at work to come to the gate to collect my package. I was super surprised as I hadn’t placed any orders. A friend of mine had sent me a box of Ferrio Rochers with a little note as a surprise. Then, it hit me – that morning we were speaking over a call and I said: “when you come next in town, reserve space in your bag for chocolates”. That little gesture was not just sweet but also endearing. 

I am quite sensitive to cold winter months (read: any weather below 21-degree Celcius 😛 ) and kind of shiver if I am not covered by at least 1 warm layer of a sweater or fleece. Last year around the same time, I was catching up with a friend over an evening “walk and talk” and the winter had just set in. As the evening progressed, the temperature dropped and it started getting chilly (FOR ME). I was freezing and shivering. The next time we meet, I sit in the car and my friend is like “there is something in the backseat for you.” My friend got me a “large” size, fleece hoodie to “protect me from the freezing” 😀 It left me SPEECHLESS. Like – I hadn’t asked for it. Every time we would thereafter meet, the jacket was ALWAYS there in the backseat for me.

After moving to a new city for work last year, I literally had no friends around in the beginning. One evening I suddenly felt sick to my stomach. A then “just acquaintance” from the city was checking up on me and I happened to mention that I was down with fever. Despite us not being really good friends, they rushed to my place with medicines and 3 tiffins full of food – 1 for dinner and 2 for breakfast and lunch for the next day – just so that I wouldn’t sleep to bed hungry and because I’d have no energy for meal prep for the next day.

When I was traveling last month, I had a last-minute flight to catch and was having some issues connecting with Uber to call for a cab to take me to the airport. I felt so helpless and stuck at the moment not knowing what to do, as there were no cabs around where I was located and there was no one to drive me to the airport. Suddenly, I get a text – “You want me to send you an Uber?” I felt as if the heavens had descended on me that moment 😀

In another instance, a friend of mine drove to the airport to pick me and drop me off without me asking for it and despite my friend’s health not being well. In my mind, I had already made up plans on catching a cab but I just get a call after my flight landed to come at the exit after I pick up my baggage. I was not made to feel like there was a favor done for me or it being some sort of grand gesture. The simplicity of this act of service was impeccable and that’s what actually made me want to cry a little.

We can be more empathetic towards people around us in very simple ways.

Gifting a book you think would be of interest to a person, getting a friend their favorite snack and most importantly, giving the gift of your time, a warm hug and patient listening ear to someone who needs it!

Remember, it is not about the money – IT IS THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS. 

You don’t look for opportunities to exercise empathy, you find them automatically when you come with a mindset of gratitude and abundance. 

Meeting unmet but articulated needs is easy.

It is about being able to meet the UNMET + UNARTICULATED needs.

Empathy is the key to creating a deep and meaningful bond with people around us.

– Himali

Happy New Year’s Eve! I wish you a beautiful 2020 ahead!

Love, Himali ❤ 🙂 


3 thoughts on “Empathy in Business and Personal Relationships- Meeting Unmet and Unarticulated Needs

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