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Opening Keynote

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Ask to Gain Understanding - Opening Keynote

Trainer and mentor Don Thoren, CPAE, writes:  "Has someone said something and you weren’t sure what to say back? Seconds tick by and your mind screams, 'What do I say now?!' or 'Why did I say that?!'"

"My wife, Kathleen, taught me to say, with curiosity, 'Isn't that interesting' and then...STOP TALKING.

The beauty of this neutral comment is that it turns the conversation back to the other person and...
   * Gives you a chance to think.
   * Gives you an immediate response, but you haven't really said anything or expressed an opinion yet.
   * Gives you a chance to change the way you are listening from a JUDGE OF what was said to an INVESTIGATOR INTO what they meant."

Don says "It's best to ask questions to gain understanding when you are not sure how to respond. However, avoid the 'why' question, as it is often received as argumentative. Now, you have your best chance of feeling comfortable with what you say back."

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Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC, Executive Director -- Breathing Space Institute  © 2014
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