Instead of trying to get the better of each other, work to “get” each other, to put yourself in the shoes of the other. This understanding can lead to cooperation, collaboration, and effective communication.
In his book, Just Listen, the author Mark Goulston outlines just how to do this.
1. Attach an emotion to what you think the other person is feeling, such as frustrated, anger or afraid.
2. Say, “I’m trying to get a sense of what you’re feeling and I think it is ________ (fill in the emotion.) Is that correct? If it’s not, then what are you feeling?” Then remain quiet and WAIT for the person to agree or correct you.
3. Once they give their answer, ask, “How _________ are you?” Again, give the person time to respond. Be prepared for a torrent of emotions. Allow them to let it all out, without your interrupting.
4. Next ask, “And the reason you are so ________ is because _____?” Let them vent.
5. Then ask, “Tell me what needs to happen for that feeling to feel better?” Wait for their response.
6. Finally ask, “What part can I play in making that happen? What part can you play in making that happen?”