In Corporate Communications, Empathy and Persuasiveness Matter

MRG recently conducted a best practices study of Communications and Corporate Affairs Leaders. This group of leaders is responsible for developing messaging that incorporates the goals and values of an organization, all while addressing it to multiple types of stakeholders. Corporate communications are often designed to influence the perceptions of an organization and have a strategic purpose.

I was not surprised when we found that effectiveness was associated with placing greater emphasis on being strategic and a clear communicator. It also made sense that being persuasive and able to win others over correlated with effectiveness.

However, I found it interesting that emphasizing empathy and concern for others was also associated with effectiveness. But upon further reflection it makes perfect sense, especially when considering the combination of empathy and persuasion. An empathetic leader cares about the needs of others, they know how to make them feel better and are genuinely interested in their wellbeing.

Audiences can be good at distinguishing a fake message from a real one. It can be really had to persuade someone with a fake message. However, a communications leader who really cares about and understands others will be more likely to articulate an honest – and therefore more persuasive – message than someone who is just focusing on the end result.

Find out what other behaviors were associated with effectiveness in the Communications and Corporate Affairs leadership role by downloading the full Best Practices report here.

At MRG, we approach research as an ongoing conversation with our network. It is one of the things that makes it so enjoyable. We share our research frequently and openly, and always look forward to getting feedback and considering different interpretations of the results. We also appreciate the many research ideas we receive on a regular basis. Every new study is the start of a new conversation.

Let us know what questions are coming up in your work and let’s start a new research conversation.


(Are you part of the MRG network? Log into the MRG Knowledge Base once to access  more than twenty Best Practice Reports and webinars along with the full MRG research library.)

Also, if there’s anything we at MRG can do to help support you or advise you as you transition to more online coaching, training, and facilitation in the coming weeks, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re all working through this together (even if we’re apart!).


About the author

Maria is Head of Research at MRG. She loves a challenge and often gets a little too excited about running new studies. She finds peace and balance by cooking (as long as her husband is doing the cleaning) or being anywhere near the ocean.

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