The Skill of Empathy

Lindsay StarkeI recently spoke to a class at Syracuse about online community, and one of the students asked me what the two most important traits for a community professional were. I named empathy and attention to detail. The first one is the focus of this episode.

It’s hard to imagine a great community professional lacking empathy. And yet, it’s a skill that’s worth talking about, understanding and refining. Higher Logic community manager Lindsay Starke is passionate about empathy and the impact it can have on your community and your business. Plus:

  • Why Lindsay cares about the history of our profession
  • What feature she’d like to see Higher Logic add to their software
  • Can empathy be taught?

Our Podcast is Made Possible By…

If you enjoy our show, please know that it’s only possible with the generous support of our sponsor: Higher Logic.
Higher Logic

Big Quotes

“If you are working with people, and you can’t get into their headspace and figure out what it is that’s motivating them, what their needs are, what they’re struggling with, then you’re never really going to be an adequate community professional, because you’re not able to see things through the eyes that you are trying to serve.” -@lindsaymstarke

“Empathy isn’t just interacting one-on-one with people. You can also be generally empathetic in terms of big move-the-needle initiatives. Doing a survey of your members where you really get down and dirty into what their motivations are, and maybe even build out personas of the different sorts of people whom you serve, that’s a huge marketing initiative that will absolutely change your community for the better, but it is also empathetic in the sense that you’re just trying to understand people.” -@lindsaymstarke

“The moments that you have where somebody, an actual human being, is thanking you for something that you’ve done for them, helps keep you from getting burnt out and inspires you to keep doing things and trying new awesome things, and just makes the job a little bit more enjoyable. I think that if it means that you produce one fewer spreadsheet, so be it.” -@lindsaymstarke

About Lindsay Starke

Lindsay Starke has been involved in online communities for almost 20 years, working full-time in the space for 5. She kicked off Higher Logic’s community management team in 2015, which has since grown to six full-time CMs.

Lindsay has worked with dozens of communities to develop their strategic and tactical plans, calling upon a background in science and psychology writing to help guide users toward greater organizational goals. She has been interviewed in ASAE Associations Now and teaches and speaks on community monthly in the DC area.

She is also the community manager of, a platform-agnostic discussion community for community managers at every stage in their journey.

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Thank you for listening to Community Signal.

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