Ever try to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t want to talk? The more questions you ask the more cryptic the answers until you’re both mad and frustrated.
Questions, particularly the wrong questions, can put people on the defensive. We ask questions because we want to know information, which means the other person is in a vulnerable spot.
A more effective and “psychologically safe” way to have and hold a discussion with someone we truly want to engage is to make statements instead of asking questions.
This leadership skill gives the other person the option of responding without feeling interrogated. If you make a habit of using this skill, they will learn you respect them, their ideas, and their feelings. They will begin to trust you with sensitive information. They may even tell you more than you ever thought possible!
In a conversation where you want to ensure the other person feels “psychologically safe,” use statements instead of questions. This allows the other person to state opinions and thoughts without feeling quizzed or interrogated.
One of the best types of statements to make is called “descriptive feedback.” This is simply stating what you see, what you notice, without any value judgment (opinion, judgment, evaluation, criticism) attached. Using this technique with success is what this episode is all about!
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