When you want to hear from others (and you should because it adds to the pool of meaning), the best way to get at the truth is by making it safe for them to express the stories that are moving them to silence or violence. This means that at the very moment when most people become furious, we need to be curious. Rather than react in kind, we need to wonder what’s behind the ruckus.
But how? How can we possibly act curious when others are either attacking or heading for cover? People who routinely seek to find out why others are feeling unsafe have learned that getting at the source of fear or discomfort is the best way to return to dialogue. Either they’ve seen others do it, or they’ve stumbled on the formula themselves. In either case, they realize that the cure to silence or violence isn’t to respond in kind, but to get at the source. This calls for genuine curiosity – at a time when you’re likely to be feeling frustrated or angry. Look for chances to turn on your curiosity rather than feeling furious.
Source: Crucial Conversations
LISTENING PAYS LESSON: Getting curious can create great value in restoring relationships. It’s all up to you how you respond.
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