How do you reduce resistance in conversations? Check out our newest blog to find out!
Reducing Resistance in Conversations
“Your being unfair”
“This is ridiculous!”
“This is horrible customer service”
“I can’t believe you treat people this way!”
“You can’t expect me to add that to my workload.”
“I thought YOU were cleaning the house today.”
Do you sometimes wish you could reduce resistance in conversations? Aid in conflict management? Or help keep a conversation moving forward in a healthy way?
There are communication skills you can learn to assist in all of these situations. Many of these skills we cover in our training courses on Motivational Interviewing.
There are 3 key ways to reduce resistance in conversations. The main component is discussed below, while the other two can be found in our online membership or one of our classes.
Let’s talk about reflective listening, what it is, and what it is not. According to Wikipedia, Reflective listening is a communication strategy involving two key steps: seeking to understand a speaker’s idea, then offering the idea back to the speaker, to confirm the idea has been understood correctly. … Mirroring the mood of the speaker, reflecting the emotional state with words and nonverbal communication.
Skilled reflective listening does not repeat, but instead reflects back the emotional state of the words coming out of someone’s mouth.
A customer service example:
“How could you not refund my money? This is not what I paid for and I plan on writing a seething review of your product.”
Instead of listening to the words, and repeating the words back to the speaker, think about the emotions behind these words. Put yourself in the speaker’s shoes. How would YOU feel if those words were coming out of your mouth? What comes to mind?
Would you be feeling slighted? Like you wasted your money? That the company failed you? That you have an obligation to let other consumers know? That every dollar is precious to you, you can’t waste any money.
The beauty behind reflective listening is there are no wrong answers, if we are putting ourselves in the speaker’s shoes, seeing the world through their eyes-there could be hundreds of possible reflections you could say back! Some reflections might hit the nail on the head, others might not and cause the speaker to re-clarify what they think/feel.
But most importantly, when trying to reduce resistance in the conversation, someone reflecting back how your feeling will cause the speaker to feel heard and understood-reducing resistance AND increasing their engagement.
Now, there are situations where reflective listening could cause additional resistance. Reflecting back a statement using sarcasm or judgement is a prime indicator that you will increase resistance rather than decrease resistance. So, tone of voice is critical.
Let’s role play this out.
Customer: “How could you not refund my money? This is not what I paid for and I plan on writing a seething review of your product.”
Employee: “Each dollar you spend is precious, and we failed you today.”
Employee: “You want this wrong to be righted, because you’re a valued customer.”
Whoa, can you imagine seething with anger and an employee not dismissing your claim, frustration or anger, and instead emotionally reflecting this back to you? Showing that they not only understand you, but recognize that you’re a valued customer.
How would you feel? Surprised? Understood?
Although reducing resistance might not get a company out of refunding a customer’s money, it could help the customer to feel heard and understood, leaving a better impression on the customer for the experience and decreasing the probability of bad word of mouth.
Once resistance is reduced, then you could shift towards a solution or resolution. “Would it be helpful to know what options are available to you?”
Ensuring our reflective statements are made without sarcasm or judgement is critical to the success of decreasing resistance.
To learn more about reducing resistance in conversations, increasing engagement or helping individuals to make change in their life, check out our online membership or one of our in person or online courses. Here’s to improving all our communication skills!
Note when a resistance-based conversation pops up in your life. Slow down your reaction and instead of firing off a reply either in person or via e-mail. Reflect back how the other person is feeling. Try this for the next week and see how you feel, but also how others respond to you!