I wanted to share with you today one of my favorite communication strategies. This is something that I use with my kids, with my partner, or with coworkers.

Seek first to understand, then seek to be understood

You can use this any time there is an issue arising that you feel really needs to be addressed. Here it is – Seek first to understand, then seek to be understood. This is one of Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people and what it really means is, let the other person go first.

When there is an issue that needs to be addressed with someone, can you ask them “What is it that you’re upset about?” or “What’s not working for you?” Let them have the floor first. Then, you are going to need to sit quietly to give them your full attention even if something that they say feels kind of inflammatory to you. Allow them to really have the floor and reflect back to them what you heard. This does an incredible amount to help disarm the person that you are communicating with. It’s going to help them be more open and receptive to what you need to say to them that day because you let them go first. You heard them out, and you acknowledged what their concern is. Then and only then, do you get the floor and can express whatever you need to say to resolve the situation.

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