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- Why are you having this conversation? (To understand what happened? To influence someone’s thinking? To change behavior?)
CREATE A BRAVE ZONE
- Give each other permission to say things that may be courageous or otherwise taboo.
- Empathy is being able to truly experience the feelings and concerns of another. Sympathy is caring for the feelings and concerns of others. Empathy takes the next step. “Empathy is about connection. Sympathy is about separation”—Brené Brown.
- Don’t focus on who is right or wrong. Give up control. Listen authentically. Share feelings.
MOVE TO A LEARNING CONVERSATION
- The goal is to understand the other person’s point of view and to explain your point of view without judgment.
LISTEN FOR UNDERSTANDING
- Make mental notes of disagreement. Resist the urge to interrupt. Ask clarifying questions: Can you say a little more about that? I don’t understand, can you explain?
- Think about why you see the issue differently (e.g., different information, different past experiences, different cultural references, etc.)
FOCUS ON CURIOSITY
- Why does the other person see things differently? Ask open-ended questions.
- Be honest in answering the whys about yourself.
DON’T EXPECT CLOSURE
- Resist moving too quickly to discussing solutions.
DON’T INSIST ON FOCUSING ON COMMONALITIES
- Explore differences with empathy and understanding.
BE PATIENT & PERSIST
- Expect ups and downs. Take a break, breathe, take a walk, etc.
PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE