The 7 Habits I propose:
2. Listening to Oneself
3. Listening to Understand Layers
4. Know Oneself
5. Celebrate Differences
6. Speaking in order to be Heard
7. [your own habit]
... What are yours?
Habit 6: Speaking in order to be Heard
- To know what you want the listener to do, feel and understand
- To be congruent by aligning your layers
- To be prepared with SCARF
First and foremost, if the other person has shared/spoken first, then it is essential to fully acknowledge what they have said so the person is "primed" to listen to you. [See the first post, especially Habit 3]
Speaking in order to be Heard
1. Be Clear on the Message
This means that I need to know what I want the listener to do, feel and understand. (1) It may help to identify 2-3 key points and how they can be illustrated. Then I think about how to communicate that so that the message can be heard. I start with each of the layers from Habit 3 and make them congruent to deliver the message that I want to convey. What's the data that I'm sharing, what emotions do I have and how am I expressing them (explicitly/indirectly), what interests/needs/values are involved, what part of my identity may be at stake and how am I managing that in this conversation. [See Habit 3]
2. Prepare, then Be Present
When I speak about an issue where I may encounter differing perspectives, I've found meditation helpful [See Habit 1], because effective communication hinges upon the ability to respond well. Thinking analytically prepares me only so much- being fully present in the moment is priceless!
3. Know Common Triggers & Recovery Tactics
Deepening awareness with common sources of conflict [Habit 5/6] enables me to know what issues might trigger other people. When a difficult issues arises, I endeavor to keep focused on the problem, not the person. Even when a person may appear to be intertwined with an issue, look for ways to separate the person from the problem. (2)
If things feels shaky, one method that I find helpful is to refocus on mutual respect and mutual purpose. (3) Then I pay attention to language stripping judgements and interpretations from what I say and focusing on objective language. [Habit 2]
4. Engage with Generative Questions
Approach difference with questions that can be answered together is a way to generate dialogue. Even seemingly "stupid questions" about the obvious enable shared meaning and shared understanding around language that we assume to share-- yet rarely do.
Try this: next time you are out with a group of people; ask each person to share what "respect" means to them and how it is demonstrated. The diversity of responses may surprise you on this word that is so often something that we assume to have shared meaning.
Additional generative questions resources: strategic questioning manual by Fran Peavey (via Seb Paquet), art of questioning workshop by Oscar Brenifier, and asking generative questions (via Eugene Eric Kim).
5. Bring SCARF When Needed
There are common issues that may trigger someone; remember the SCARF: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relationship, Fairness. These are core identity-related issues that may prompt strong reactions when they are perceived to be threatened. Here are some tips for how to navigate them:
People will have strong reactions when something that is said threatens their perceived "status" in a setting.
Strategy to be Heard
Be aware of different types of status - social, familial, professional and be mindful of how what one says may threaten a person's status.
Many people need to have strong sense of things being certain. For example, religion and science are two things that give people a sense of certainty.
Minimize uncertainty, which can be done by clarifying what is not at issue at the same time as what one says.
Many people have a desire to determine their own direction and to have a sense of control over what they are doing and what happens to them.
Maximize a person's sense of self determination
Our need to be connected with others is powerful. Who is in and who is critical. When this status is threatened, it can trigger people.
Fostering connections between people who may perceive themselves to be different can help to overcome relatedness barriers.
Unfair exchanges result in a strong threat responses and can limit empathy.
Increase transparency, increase communication, set clear expectations at the outset to mitigate fairness.
Navigating an Ask
1. Ask versus Demand
Many people wait until in a perilous situation to ask for assistance; this context can make an ask into a thinly veiled demand, because the high stakes decrease the other person's ability to say "no" without risking the relationship. To break this cycle, tease "hidden demands" out of one's ask. A simple test: when "no" is not an OK answer, then you aren't making an ask, you are making a hidden demand.
2. Invite Brainstorm
Express your need/want and invite others to brainstorm with you on potential solutions. By focusing on what is needed rather than on an initially identified or preferred solution, everyone has the opportunity to identify solutions. This may generate more ideas than initially considered as well as more buy in from people who participate in generating ideas.
Responding to Requests
I took a deep breath. [Habit 1] I could hear tension in the Fellow's voice, [Habit 3] and I thought about SCARF [Habit 6]- what might have been triggered? I reflected on what I heard-- a threat to status, as an NTJ; perhaps a challenge to certainty, because if how he understood himself was variable, it might alter his sense of certainty about his place in the world. [Habit 3] and if on the continuum [Habit 4-5], he has high uncertainty avoidance, this kind of change could be perceived as very threatening.
I endeavored to model empathy poker. "When I said, 'a person's Myers-Brigg preference profile might, and likely would, change over time,' I'm wondering if you may have felt distressed or uneasy," I paused to look for affirmation from the Fellow, he nodded. Then I continued "because it sounds as though you have found comfort in the self-understanding that the Myers-Brigg affords you?" He nodded. So let's put this experience in the context of providing self-care, I imagine the internal dialogue might have sounded like this: "When Kate commented that 'a person's Myers-Briggs profile might change,' I felt anxious, because my need for certainty about how I engage with the world was challenged. I acknowledge that I value this tool because it gives me a sense of clarity about myself and how I fit in the world. It's OK if Kate has a different view on the tool, because I am comfortable with the tool." [Habit 2] "Yes."
As the fellow's voice and body relaxed, we began an enriching and expanding conversation about our different perspectives on the Myers-Brigg. We discussed how one can use a framework such as the Myers-Brigg and the conflict continuas as a tool for building skills to communicate across difference, because ultimately, we want to be able to reach other people- to connect, to share ideas- and if we consider where we are on the continuum [Habit 4], then we can learn how to communicate with people who fall on a different end of the spectrum. [Habit 5]. When one learns how to notice one's reaction and apply these techniques, it opens the possibility to learn about differing views without being defended and defensive when discussing topics that challenge one's beliefs, experiences, views and values.
Habit 7: [Your Own Habit]
Additional habits identified from fellows and some that I have gathered from colleagues include:
- Listening with One's Eyes:
- Listening for What is Not Said
- Playing Music Together
2. Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and WIlliam Ury.
3. Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler
4. SCARF: a brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others, NeuroLeadership Journal by David Rock.
5. High Performance Communication, Ed Batista.
6. Power of Positive No by William Ury.
7. Strategic Questioning Manual by Fran Peavey (via Seb Paquet)
8, Groupaya's Asking Generative Questions (via Eugene Eric Kim)