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How? We’ve also suggested that whatever we do to invite the

other person to open up and share his or her path, our invitation

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How? We’ve also suggested that whatever we do to invite the other person to open up and share his or her path, our invitation must be sincere. As hard as it sounds, we must be sincere in the
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must be sincere. As hard as it sounds, we must be sincere in the

face of hostility, fear, or even abuse-which leads us to the next


What? What are we supposed to actually do? What does it

take to get others to share their path-stories and facts alike? In

a word, it requires listening. In order for people to move from

acting on their feelings to talking about their conclusions and

observations, we must listen in a way that makes it safe for oth­

ers to share their intimate thoughts. They must believe that when

they share their thoughts, they won’t offend others or be pun­

ished for speaking frankly.


To encourage others to share their paths we’ll use four power lis­

tening tools that can help make it safe for other people to speak

frankly. We call the four skills power listening tools because they

are best remembered with the acronym AMPP-Ask, Mirror,

Paraphrase, and Prime. Luckily, the tools work for both silence

and violence games.

Ask to Get Th i ngs Rol l i ng

The easiest and most straightforward way to encourage others to

share their Path to Action is simply to invite them to express them­

selves. For example, often all it takes to break an impasse is to seek




to understand others’ views. When we show genuine interest, peo­

ple feel less compelled to use silence or violence. For example: “Do

you like my new dress, or are you going to call the modesty

police?” Wendy smirks.

“What do you mean?” you ask. “I’d like to hear your concerns.”

If you’re willing to step out of the fray and simply invite the

other person to talk about what’s really going on, it can go a long

way toward breaking the downward spiral and getting to the

source of the problem.

Common invitations include:

“What’s going on?”

“I’d really like to hear your opinion on this.”

“Please let me know if you see it differently.”

“Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. I really want to

hear your thoughts.”

Mi rror to Confi rm Fee l i ngs

If asking others to share their path doesn’t open things up, mirror­

ing can help build more safety. In mirroring, we take the portion of

the other person’s Path to Action we have access to and make it

safe for him or her to discuss it. All we have so far are actions and

some hints about the other person’s emotions, so we start there.

When we mirror, as the name suggests, we hold a mirror up

to the other person-describing how they look or act. Although

we may not understand others’ stories or facts, we can see their

actions and get clues about their feelings.

This particular tool is most useful when another person’s tone

or voice or gestures (hints about the emotions behind them) are

inconsistent with his or her words. For example: “Don’t worry.

I ‘m fine. ” (But the person in question is saying this with a look

t hat suggests he is actually quite upset. He’s frowning, looking

around , and sort of kicking at the ground. )




“Really? From the way you’re saying that, it doesn’t sound like

you are.”

We explain that while the person may be saying one thing, his

or her tone of voice or body posture suggests something else. In

doing so, we show respect and concern for him or her.

The most important element of mirroring is our tone of voice.

It is not the fact that we are acknowledging others’ emotions that

creates safety. We create safety when our tone of voice says we’re

okay with them feeling the way they’re feeling. If we do this well,

they may conclude that rather than acting out their emotions,

they can confidently talk them out with us instead.

So as we describe what we see, we have to do so calmly. If we

act upset or as if we’re not going to like what others say, we don’t

build safety. We confirm their suspicions that they need to

remain silent.

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