Back off your harsh and conclusive language, not your belief.
Hold to your belief; merely soften your approach.
SUMMARY-STATE MY PATH
When you have a tough message to share, or when you are so
convinced of your own rightness that you may push too hard,
remember to STATE your path:
• S.hare your facts. Start with the least controversial, most per
suasive elements from your Path to Action.
• Tell your story. Explain what you’re beginning to conclude.
• A.sk for others’ paths. Encourage others to share both their
facts and their stories.
• Talk tentatively. State your story as a story-don’t disguise it
as a fact.
• Encourage testing. Make it safe for others to express differing
or even opposing views.
One of the best ways to persuade others
is with your ears-by listening to them.
Paths How to Listen When Others
Blow Up or Clam Up
Over the past few months your daughter Wendy has started to
date a guy who looks like he’s about ten minutes away from a
felony arrest. After only a few weeks of dating this fellow,
Wendy’s clothing preference is now far too suggestive for your
taste, and she routinely punctuates her language with expletives.
When you carefully try to talk to her about these recent changes,
she shouts accusations and insults and then withdraws to her
room where she sulks for hours on end.
Now what? Should you do something given that you’re not
the one going to silence or violence? When others clam up
(refusing to speak their minds) or blow up (communicating in a
way that is abusive and insulting), is there something you can do
tu get them to dialogue?
1 42 CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS
The answer is a resounding “It depends.” If you want to let a
tended) , then say nothing. It’s the other person who seems to
have something to say but refuses to open up. It’s the other per
son who’s blown a cork. Run for cover. You can’t take responsi
bility for someone else’s thoughts and feelings. Right?
Then again, you’ll never work through your differences until
all parties freely add to the pool of meaning. That means the peo
ple who are blowing up or clamming up must participate as well.
And while it’s true that you can’t force others to dialogue, you
can take steps to make it safer for them to do so. After all, that’s
why they’ve sought the security of silence or violence in the first
place. They’re afraid that dialogue will make them vulnerable.
Somehow they believe that if they engage in real conversation
with you, bad things will happen. Your daughter, for instance,
believes that if she talks with you, she’ll be lectured, grounded,
and cut off from the only guy who seems to care about her.
Restoring safety is your greatest hope to get your relationship
back on track.