I came across a communication technique developed by Sophie Slade called ‘ The imago Dialogue’. I’ve been practising this technique with my husband and found it really useful.
Often when we communicate, we don’t really listen. Our pre-conceptions and fears are an impediment from having good conversation.
Slade’s technique is based on the following steps: summarise, validates and empathizes. The listener is open, surrender completely to the speaker. The listener empty himself of fears and pre-conceptions.
First, the listener must summarise his understanding. The idea is to mirror what the other person has sad. ‘What I am hearing you say is…’ Making sure that the other person says all he/she wanted to say: ‘Is there more about that?’
After, we’re sure that we really understood the other person, we can validate the other person view by trying understanding his feeling: ‘It make sense to me that you feel like that give that.’
Finally, we can talk about our feeling, so the other person knows how do we feel about the situation.
A example of conversion I had with my husband using this technique
HUBBY: Are you available to talk right now?
ME: Sure. What up?
HUBBY: I would like to talk about Christmas. I know we decided to stay in London this year, like we did last year. This year, I would like to spend Christmas with friends. Last year, we didn’t organise anything special. I want to know your intention and organise Christmas with you.
ME: summarising: I see. So you want to discuss what to do for Christmas, because you didn’t like the way we spent Christmas last time. (In this last sentence I wasn’t listening and I did interpreted his thoughts. He never said that he didn’t like last Christmas)
HUBBY: No, I want to organise Christmas with you. I know some of our friends will be in London; it will be nice doing something together.
ME: Validating: I see. Christmas is important for you, it does reminds you of family time, and therefore you want to spend it with friends.
ME: I’m happy that you want to talk about Christmas. I didn’t realise how Christmas was important for you. Let’s talk about it.
Try this technique with your partner, friends, and at work. You will see the difference.