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Too soft : “It’s probably my fault, but . . . ”

Too hard: “You wouldn’t trust your own mother to make a one­

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minute egg!”

Just right: “I’m starting to feel like you don’t trust me. Is that

what’s going on here? If so, I’d like to know what I did to

lose your trust.”

Too soft : “Maybe I’m just oversexed or something, but . . . ”

Too hard: “If you don’t find a way to pick up the frequency, I’m


lust right : “I don’t think you’re intending this, but I’m beginning

to feci rejected.”




fncou rage Testing

When you ask others to share their paths, how you phrase your

invitation makes a big difference. Not only should you invite

others to talk, but you have to do so in a way that makes it clear

that no matter how controversial their ideas are, you want to

hear them. Others need to feel safe sharing their observations

and stories-even if they differ. Otherwise, they don’t speak up

and you can’t test the accuracy and relevance of your views.

This becomes particularly important when you’re having a

crucial conversation with people who might move to silence.

Some people make Sucker’s Choices in these circumstances.

They worry that if they share their true opinions, others will clam

up. So they choose between speaking their minds and hearing

others out. But the best at dialogue don’t choose. They do both.

They understand that the only limit to how strongly you can

express your opinion is your willingness to be equally vigorous

in encouraging others to challenge it.

Invite opposing views. So if you think others may be hesitant,

make it clear that you want to hear their views-no matter their

opinion. If they disagree, so much the better. If what they have

to say is controversial or even touchy, respect them for finding

the courage to express what they’re thinking. If they have differ­

ent facts or stories, you need to hear them to help complete the

picture. Make sure they have the opportunity to share by active­

ly inviting them to do so: “Does anyone see it differently?”

“What am I missing here?” “I’d really like to hear the other side

of this story.”

Mean it. Sometimes people offer an invitation that sounds

more like a threat than a legitimate call for opinions. “Well,

that’s how I see it. Nobody disagrees, do they?” Invite people

with both words and tone that say “I really want to hear from

you.” For instance: “I know people have been reluctant to speak

up about this, but I would really love to hear from everyone.”




Or: “I know there are at least two sides to this story. Could we

hear differing views now? What problems could this decision

cause us?”

Play devil’s advocate. Occasionally you can tell that others are

not buying into your facts or story, but they’re not speaking up

either. You’ve sincerely invited them, even encouraged differing

views, but nobody says anything. To help grease the skids, play

devil’s advocate. Model disagreeing by disagreeing with your

own view. “Maybe I’m wrong here. What if the opposite is true?

What if the reason sales have dropped is because . . . ”

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