1: Getting better at getting better is what RiseWithDrew is all about.

Monday through Thursday, we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations. On Friday, I share something about myself or what we are working on at PCI.

“Once people get upset at one another, rational thinking goes out the window,” FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss tells us in his book Never Split the Difference.

That’s the mistake we can make in a negotiation or heated conversation. We tend to focus on our goals and our perspective. What it is we want.

Wrong approach, Chris tells us.

Instead, we are wise to focus on the other person. What they are feeling. What it is they want.

In short, we want to practice empathy.

2: Empathy is about paying attention to another human being. We ask what they are feeling. We commit to understanding their world.

“Think about the therapist’s couch,” Chris suggests. “A soothing voice, close listening, and a calm repetition of the words . . . can get us a lot further than a cold, rational argument.”

3: If this sounds too touchy-feely, it’s not.  

Empathy is not about “being nice” or “agreeing with the other side,” he writes. “We aim to understand the feelings and the mindset of the other party at that moment. We listen for what is behind those feelings.”

Doing so involves getting into the right mindset. It “demands opening up our senses, talking less, and listening more.”  

We watch. We listen.  

Eyes open. Mouth shut.

More next week!


Action: Practice being empathetic in a conversation today. Focus on understanding what the other person wants.

Reflection: What did I learn after taking the action?  Is there anything I’ll do differently next time?

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