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It is not what you say, it is what people hear

By The Policy Circle Team

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand;   They listen with the intent to reply”  Stephen Covey

When preparing for this holiday, whether you are preparing to travel, to run a turkey trot, to bake a pie, take a moment to prepare your thoughts as well by revisiting the main takeaways of the  “Difficult Conversations” presentation from The Policy Circle 2018 Summit.  Melanie Sturm of Engage to Win reminded us that there is a difference between engaging to win and engaging to understand.  If we begin conversations with the intent to understand, we will use understanding language which is an open and friendly manner to express care and concern.  When we start with the intent to understand, we have a much better chance of having a productive conversation.

Key points to keep in mind as you prepare your thoughts:

  • Remember you are the message:  we can make people feel good or feel bad
  • Practice “digestive” listening:  ask a clarifying question to garner trust
  • Fight for people not things:  focus on the vulnerable
  • Use fairness and compassion appeals: they reach everyone
  • Tell stories:  they are memorable and irrefutable
  • Pivot to better ground:  use “I worry that… to show you care and to pivot to your persuasive message.

As you know, we at the Policy Circle believe in fact based discussions.  Win people’s trust by citing sources they believe and staying clear of labels.  And remember to smile and be relaxed 😉

Congressman Jack Kemp once said “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

Wishing you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving.


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