Acknowledging goes with talking. When you acknowledge others while talking, they feel understood. Even if you don’t agree with what the other person is saying, it is important that the person feels heard.
No one likes to feel trapped in a one-way conversation. Acknowledging not only allows you to assure the person that you are listening, but gives you an opportunity to interject during the conversation.
The Art of Effective Communication
Knowing how to effectively communicate means that conversations are meaningful and never one-sided or pointless. Communication is a two-way process, so not only is it important in how we send messages but how we receive them as well.
Effective communication benefits many aspects of life. Not only will it help in having conversations with a partner or loved one, it will also serve you in the workplace, whether you are dealing with coworkers or customers.
Being able to listen and acknowledge is important if you have children. Being able to support what your child is saying, and let him or her know that you understand their message, is key to helping them develop emotional and social intelligence.
Three Steps to Acknowledging While Talking
I’m sure we have all been in this situation: a friend is telling you a story but you are losing track of the conversation because either you don’t agree with what they are saying, the story is long-winded or you are focused on what you are going to say next.
Acknowledging while having a conversation not only shows the other person you are listening, but helps you to also keep track of the conversation.
Even if you are listening to an opinion you do not agree with, it’s likely that the speaker is simply voicing a complaint and is simply looking for you to acknowledge their point – not necessarily to agree with it. They may just want to be understood.
Try these three steps to acknowledgment:
1. Repeat Back
Acknowledge by repeating back to your child, friend, lover or partner, what he or she has said in similar words to show that you have heard and understood. This technique is called “parroting” and it is simply a way to show that you have heard exactly what they have said.
Another alternative is a method called “paraphrasing”, in which you repeat back what has been said but in your own words. The difference here is that, instead of merely regurgitating word-for-word what was said, you are displaying understanding and empathy by rewording the thought or concern.
“You were upset today because I was late.”
“You feel like I treat your sister better than I do you.”
“I understand that you are upset by what happened.”
2. Don’t Invalidate
It is not necessary to agree with the person you are acknowledging. You do not even need to feel that what he or she said is the truth. However, do not invalidate him or her.
Invalidating occurs when we dismiss another person’s concerns or feelings.
Again, this is vital when dealing with children since we want to teach them how to identify and deal with their emotions.
Examples of invalidation include:
“You’re too sensitive.”
“You’re certainly wrong. I don’t treat your sister better than you.”
“There is no reason for you to feel like that.”
“That’s a crazy way to feel.”
3. Don’t Try to Change
Be satisfied just to acknowledge. Don’t try to change the other person.
Many conflicts in your personal relationships can be avoided if you will take the time to acknowledge other’s feelings and points of view. In fact, understanding is what talking is all about in this (and many) case.