If you want to improve your relationship with your children, your spouse, your coworkers, or anyone else, learn to acknowledge their feelings before you seek to fix their problem.  Sometimes we hear someone’s problem and immediately start in with, “You should . . .” or “What I would do is . ..”

In our eagerness to help, we jump right over the most important thing; acknowledging how they feel.  At best, people are only partially ready to hear your ideas at this point.  Worst-case scenario, they feel like you’ve shut them down.

To open their ears to your suggestions, take just a moment and ask yourself, “How is this person feeling right now?”  Then articulate it.  “You sound frustrated,” or “you seem sad about that,” these are simple yet powerful observations.  You let people know you are seeing them and you care.

The reason it works on everyone, from children to CEOs, is that our human nature yearns to feel understood.  Test it out, and watch your communications flourish.

Wishing you the best always,
Corinne McElroy


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