Empathy, Neuroscience, and Community Management: Learning To Take Your Time


(Suzi Nelson) #1

Hey y’all!

I read a really interesting study last month about the biological location of empathy and how it works both to our advantage and disadvantage - and wrote this little article (2 min read) on how it applies to community management.


(Sarah Hawk) #2


Love this takeaway:

One problem, though: The RSG doesn’t fire when you have to make a quick decision.
Knee-jerk reactions don’t come from a place of empathy. Your RSG needs some time to adjust!

(Piper_Wilson) #3

Thank you for this. Taking time is something that I sometimes have trouble with. In part, I think it’s because I function well in an in-person crisis; my brain can’t tell the difference between what’s happening in my lap and what needs consideration time.

I also want you to know that I appreciate the link to the meditation exercise. I think that will be useful for me.


(Sarah Hawk) #4

I’m the same. Since reading Suzi’s article I’ve been thinking on why that might be. I think that when something distressing or disturbing happens, I want to ‘fix’ it straight away so I shoot from the hip. I almost always think of a better approach 10 minutes later, so I should work on that. :wink:

(Piper_Wilson) #5

Agreed, but then fezzes are cool!

(Suzi Nelson) #6

I use it sooooo often.

(Travis King) #7

Great post Suzi!

I’ll have to remember that I should step back and take a bit more time when I’m having trouble smiling from the wrists down :smiley:

(Mark Baldwin) #8

Love this thread @Suzi_Nelson I’m a big fan of thinking things through before responding, so many people that we deal with on a day to day basis have the “fire and forget” approach. When dealing with a particularly tricky or potentially inflammatory post/user I always force myself to find something to laugh about, get myself in a good mood before tackling it. It sounds strange, but we behave differently when we smile.

I’m going to digress briefly, but hopefully it makes a point. People who work in a call centre are trained to smile when talking to people over the phone, even though nobody can see them. The reason is because our tone of voice is different when we smile and people can pick up those vibes when they hear our voice. We’ve all been able to tell if someone we are talking to over the phone is in a good mood or not.

The same principle applies when writing, we use different expressions, punctuation and tone when we are in a good mood. So my advice is to have a picture on your desktop that you can open up that either makes you laugh or smile and then get straight back to it.

(Courtney Howell) #9

Ahhh, this was a great read, @Suzi_Nelson! Something I constantly try to tell myself is, “Don’t trust the anger.” Much like you suggest in this article, it reminds me to take a minute and breathe. It’s amazing. No matter what the situation is, after a few minutes, the anger dissipates and I’m able to think much more clearly, so it’s fascinating to now learn the “why” of this process. I think this could work with other stressful emotions, too, not just anger. Embarrassment, disgust, sadness. I love this reminder and will make sure to keep the “emotional pause button” in my CM toolkit!

PS: I’d also be interested in hearing which books, articles, documentaries, or anything else you found to be most helpful in your behavioral psychology obsession. :slight_smile:

(Sarah Hawk) #10

Here are a few that I like:

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Hooked: How To Build Habit Forming Products
Principals of Social Psychology

(Mark Baldwin) #11

https://www.nathalienahai.com/ the free resources on Nathalie’s site are brilliant, she also did a couple of great talks at Sprint.

(Suzi Nelson) #12

I loved Meet Your Happy Chemicals - it’s one of the more recent ones I read. It’s all about the hormones and chemicals that make us feel good, what triggers them, etc.

Contagious: Why Things Go Viral should also be required reading. Read MYHC first, because Contagious complements it nicely.

Currently I’m digging into The Power of Habit!

(Courtney Howell) #13

@HAWK @Mjbill @Suzi_Nelson Thank y’all so much! Added them all to Goodreads! (Except for Nathalie’s site, of course) I’ve been in a major reading slump lately, so maybe these suggestions will help get me out of it! :hearts:

(Sarah Hawk) #14

Dr Susan Weinschenk is also an interesting person to follow.