I HEAR You
Both Active Listening
and Nonviolent Communication
focus on LISTENING to the other person. But actually SPEAKING is also a key element of both approaches. Why? In any helping relationship you need to ask a lot of questions to make sure you are both "on the same page". The kind of wording you use when asking such questions is important for the other person to feel comfortable in opening up and sharing their thoughts and ideas with you.
I just found out about an interesting tool for this. It helps you to express or signal receptiveness
(a willingness to listen) to other people by using certain language. I thought I'd share it here with you.
The tool can be easily remembered by the phrase: "I HEAR you
". HEAR is an acronym that stands for:
- H - HEDGE YOUR CLAIMS, softening your assertions (effective examples: I think it's possible that… This might happen because… Some people tend to think that…)
- E - EMPHASIZE AGREEMENT, common ground (effective examples: I think we both want to… I agree with some of what you are saying… We are both concerned with...)
- A - ACKNOWLEDGE OTHER PERSPECTIVES (effective examples: I understand that… I see your point that… What I think you are saying is…)
- R - REFRAME IN POSITIVE, CONSTRUCTIVE TERMS (effective examples: I think it's great when… I really appreciate it when… It would be so wonderful if…)
This "I HEAR you"-framework combines actively acknowledging the other person's perspective with presenting your own view in a friendly, humble and positive way.
Do you think that training staff and managers in using this kind of language could be a useful element in fostering a culture of appreciating disagreement and debate, open mindedness, organizational learning and innovation? And could it contribute to helping managers to act more like a coach or mediator?
Reference: Minson A.J. and Gino F., "Managing a Polarized Workforce", HBR Mar-Apr 2022, pp. 62-71