Episode recap: Empathy with Rob Volpe

In this week’s episode, we had the pleasure to chat with Rob Volpe about the Joy Superpower of Empathy!

Rob Volpe is an astute observer of life and a master storyteller who brings empathy and compassion to the human experience.

As the CEO of Ignite 360, he leads a team of insights, strategy, and creative professionals serving the world’s leading brands across a range of industries. He is the author of Tell Me More About That: Solving the Empathy Crisis One Conversation at a Time.

As a thought leader in the role of empathy in marketing and the workplace, he is a contributor to Entrepreneur’s Leadership Network and frequently speaks on the topic at conferences, corporations, colleges, podcasts and with the media.  He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and lives in San Francisco with his husband and 3 cats.

Here are the key points Rob shared with us!

There are two primary types of empathy

The first thing Rob emphasizes for us is to understand that there are two primary types of empathy: Cognitive empathy – seeing the perspective of somebody else seeing a point of view, and emotional empathy – which is more connected to the emotional perspective, in an “I feel what you’re feeling, I can feel what you’re going through.” kind-of-way. Those are used at different times and in different ways with different people, effectively.

Think about the two primary types of empathy: cognitive empathy, and emotional empathy. Those are used at different times and in different ways with different people – effectively.

Rob Volpe

With Rob’s guidance, we got to see some great tools and ways to re-think empathy for everyday situations and moments!

The decline in empathy can be seen through research

During the episode, we also discussed the phenomenon of empathy decline. According to Rob, data shows that not only has there been a decline in empathy among people in recent years, it has also been a steady ongoing trend. Understandably, this has gotten Rob worried, as this obviously has and will have continuous consequences in society and the everyday lives of people.

We then discussed the things which might be the possible reasons behind the phenomenon – or the results of it. One theme that comes up is digitalization and mobile devices. Rob sheds light on how through social media, we aren’t really engaged with the person we are communicating to, but the mobile device, and how this results in the absence of moments of empathy. We also discussed the role of childcare and different kinds of after-school activities in raising children, and how those affect the family dynamics and children’s developing empathy skills in today’s world.

The concrete examples of differences between today’s world and the past are very eye-opening, and Rob really does an amazing job of highlighting how the world around us has changed the way we experience and carry out empathy today and in the future!

Only so much can be said in a blog post, so to shortly seal the main points, here are the final tips we got from Rob while wrapping up our episode!

Rob’s top three tips from this episode:

  1. Understand that there is emotional and cognitive empathy, and don’t be afraid of that.
  2. Lower your judgment. Make sure you are not casting Spurgeon.
  3. Be courageous!

BONUS TIP: follow the tag #empathy on Instagram!

We hope you are inspired by this recap of our chat with Rob to embrace the power of empathy to bring more joy not only in your own life but also in the lives of others.

You can listen to the full episode with Rob on the Joy Superpower HERE or on your favorite podcast platform by searching for the Art and Science of Joy.

Further reading