Using Empathy Interviewing Techniques to Get to the Heart of the Matter | Lisa Leong, ABC Radio National

The Strategy Sphere podcast — brought to you by Intapp — features interviews with leading experts in academia, innovation, and business. Our hosts are Lavinia Calvert, who leads the global marketing and business development solutions business at Intapp, and Deborah Farone, a marketing strategy consultant and author. In each episode, Calvert and Farone explore today’s world of professional services marketing, leadership, innovation, and education.

Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Audible, and Spotify.

Lisa Leong — a corporate lawyer, broadcaster, business developer, and consultant — virtually joined Calvert and Farone from Australia to share her advice on how to truly connect with people.

Leong and her company, Ohten Group, focus on helping clients implement their strategies and obtain better results. She explained that a professional service or business-to-business sales effort is really a version of a human-to-human interchange. She stated, “We’ve got to unleash a sense of care and of understanding, and tap back into why we are doing this. Are we doing this as an intellectual flight of fancy or do we want to help?”

Leong revealed firsthand how empathy and connection are vital to satisfying business goals and achieving success. She took Calvert and Farone through a fun exercise to illustrate this idea, and emphasized three key points:

  • Double down on your empathy skill set by being curious and asking questions. It’s essential to dive deep into a problem before offering a possible solution.
  • When brainstorming, adapt to your participant’s style and approach by working within their predispositions. Modify your design thinking structures.
  • Welcoming new ideas is like taking an elastic band and stretching it. Once stretched, it will become more flexible in the future.

    Leong also talks about how she first learned to use empathy as a radio host and later as a student at the Australian Television and Radio School. She discusses the importance of using empathy to drive successful conversations, and reveals how people can get to the heart of an issue through a process she calls “empathy interviewing.”

    Subscribe to Strategy Sphere, find other episodes, or submit questions at

Featured Guest

Lisa Leong

Chief Executive Officer

Ohten Group APAC

View profile