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Jun 26, 2024

"I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening." --Larry King

Four Steps to Help People Feel Listened To

Your child announces he's in love and dropping out of college to travel with his beloved across the globe. Your uncle makes a politically charged comment over a holiday meal. A doctor brushes off your concern, reiterating a line of reasoning you've already discussed. It can be a bewildering, enraging, or disempowering experience when something so clearly true from our perspective is so adamantly at odds with another's point of reference. "At home, at work and in civic spaces, it’s not uncommon to have conversations that make you question the intelligence and benevolence of your fellow human beings," writes Professor Julia Minson, Ph.D., who has spent years studying ways that parties in conflict can behave to make others feel they are thoughtfully engaging with their perspective. Drawing from computational linguistics to analyze thousands of disagreements, Minson and her team identified ways in which people engage each other with conversational receptiveness. Drawing from those techniques, they outlined a method and training called "HEAR" -- Hedge your claims. Emphasize agreement. Acknowledge the opposing perspective. Reframe the positive. 


Approach each conversation today with an intention to truly listen to others. Notice if your openness allows space for deeper topics to surface in the conversation that would otherwise remain dormant. If you're inspired, practice the H.E.A.R. conversation style outlined by the article.