Empathy Exercises

Empathy Exercises that are Deemed to Work

Step into the customers/clients shoes and see what they want. Empathize with them. Then only you will be able to design better experiences for them.

Does it sound relatable?

How many times have you heard this or some variations of this from your design mentor or any design course?

It’s everywhere.

Personally, when I researched about the prerequisites for any UX design beginner, there were two things common, Research skills and the ability to empathize.

So, in this info-resource, I’ll be talking about my way of empathizing to get into customers shoes:

And yeah, if you can inculcate it within, that would be of some great help because these empathy exercises are deemed to work.

Just in case, if you don’t want to go through the entire info-resource, you can see a short video which I’ve created for this purpose.

1) Listen

Let me tell you one secret, shall I?

Okay, you know what, everyone has a story to tell but unfortunately, somehow in this world,

we are falling sort of ears that actually listen.

Everybody is just trying to hear.

And just for the sake of side note, hearing and listening are two very distinct things. Though, these terms are being used interchangeably.

So, if you are a good listener, you got a head’s up my friend and if you are not, this is the very first empathy exercise that you should practice in order to get a better idea of the pain points of the end consumer.

But you should take care of the following while listening:

First be a part of their story. That’s very important. By being a part of their story, you will get the insider insights which you won’t be able to see from the superficial level.

Get the context. For better understanding, you gotta know about the context first.

Let’s suppose, you were asked to design the cap of a bottle. One part is to go and straightaway design the cap without even bothering where the cap needs to fit in.

The other way is obvious that you first see the bottle, the architecture, the premise where the cap needs to fit in and then you design it. Listening is very much similar to understanding the context and see the bigger picture of the story like seeing the bottle in this story.

2) Question a lot

When was the last time, you raised your hand in a meeting and asked a question?

For me, I cannot recall and hence, this particular area is where I personally need to work upon.

This may sound very much familiar to some of you. Not questioning things not gonna work here.

Why, what, where and how. I am trying to be friends with these and you should also if you haven’t already.

The reason being, questions brings clarity and clarity leads to a better solution, as simple as that.

And mind you that, as far as I have realized, questioning is an art.

3) Upskill with emotional intelligence

If you ask me, what do I perceive from emotional intelligence, my answer would be this:

Emotional intelligence is an ability to effectively deal with emotions, either of one’s own or of others.

See, we humans are emotionally driven and as it is such an inseparable part of our lives, it naturally affects our decisions, behavior, and activities and that is where it becomes a strong contender in the list of empathy exercises.

Moving on, we all are aware of this hackneyed phrase, “Charity begins at home.” and yeah, it does.

So, before going after other’s emotions, we should be aware of our emotional intelligence, right. And the first step becomes knowing that.

The following things might help you get started but I would suggest you read something particular about this:

  • Know what all emotions you go through on a daily basis.
  • Label your emotions.
  • Don’t conceal, express more.
  • Observe your surroundings.

These things will help you understand your emotions better and eventually of others also.

The whole point of bringing this story up is to be more aware of your emotions.

Once, you are aware of those and know what these sounds like, you will always be in a better position to understand the emotional journey of your prospect.


I’ll keep on updating this info-resource as and when I’ll come across any effective empathy building exercises.

Till then do let me know if you have some thoughts about it. I am all ears.

Thank you for stopping by.

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