I learned something wonderful. When I talk to my daughter and explicitly say, “I understand you are probably feeling ____ because you wanted to go out and play rather than getting in your high chair for dinner,” she softens. This doesn’t mean she wants to come in for dinner any more than before, but I disarm her by understanding her and acknowledging her feelings as valid.
I had a lot of opportunity for customer service emails this week and decided I should deploy the same tactic.
“I understand you must be feeling ____. I would feel the same way if _____ wasn’t working how it was supposed to. That’s so frustrating and inconvenient….”
They felt understood.
What do we have to win by not letting people know we understand them and their feelings are valid?
Who cares if we’re right? Who cares if we don’t think someone should feel a certain way? THEY DO.
Validate that and it’s a lot easier to move the conversation forward.
Parents, try it with your kids. Professionals, try it in your correspondence with coworkers and clients.