In a conversation where someone is needing support to make a decision or sharing a challenging situation, acknowledging them can make a huge difference in their confidence level and help them move forward in a really positive way. One way to do this is to acknowledge them for what they’ve done well and the risks they’ve take. It will encourage them to make more positive choices and take more positive steps in their life. Be as specific as you can when acknowledging someone. Be descriptive about what they did and share how it makes you feel.
Listen as they talk for places they did something they might be perceived as a risk so you don’t miss opportunities to acknowledge it. Here are some questions you can ask/things you can say during the conversation…
- Tell me what happened?
- Sounds like you’ve made a decision.
- How did you do that?
- What’s different this time?
- Sounds like you know what you want…what’s stopping you from moving forward.
- What do you need to move forward?
- Has this ever happened to you before?
- Tell me more.
Of course, these questions/statements are just a guide. It really depends on the flow of conversation and you need to choose language that makes sense and feels natural for you. The most important thing is to listen for opportunities to acknowledge them. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it can make for someone.
This is the second post in series on effective communication. You can read the first post here on challenging conversations.