Responses that Stimulate Conversation
by Chad Gross
Here are some principles for participating in a discussion that will increase openness and decrease defensiveness.
1. When stating your position, you can preface your remarks with tentative statements. You may be absolutely sure of your position, but when you preface a remark with a tentative statement, it promotes an atmosphere of openness and enhances the quality of the discussion.
- I understand what you’re saying, but let me tell you how I see it.
- I’m just wondering, have you ever considered this _____________?
- In my opinion…
- How would you respond to this: ________?
- Have you considered the evidence for __________?
- Can I give you another option?
2. When you want another person in the group to say more you can respond this way:
- I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, tell me more.
- Is this what you’re saying _______?
- What do you mean by the term ________?
- Can you explain (or illustrate) that?
- How are you defining ________?
- I’m not sure I see where the conflict is.
- So essentially what you’re saying is, ________.
- It seems like you’re saying, ________.
- I understand what you are getting at. You’re saying _________.
3. When you want to express your disagreement…
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