The Art of Radical Listening

Followership tip of the week – use Rogerian Rhetoric to demonstrate Radical Listening

How does it work?

Instead of immediately advocating your position or trying to refute someone else’s position, you must state the OTHER’S position in such a manner as is ACCEPTABLE TO THEM.

Want to ratchet it up a notch?

Engage Rapoport’s rules:

1. Listen by example. Show the other how you want to be listened to AND listen closely enough that you can restate the other’s position to the other’s satisfaction.

Restate the position with adjustments until the OTHER is satisfied you have heard and understood their point.

2. Find merit in that position. Validate what is solid ground in the other’s proposal. Identity what can be justified and give examples that support that part of the concept.

This creates some common ground and implied agreement in part. But the proposition is not strong enough outside the areas that were validated. (And it may make you question your own position or rethink what you need to reinforce)

3. Find perceived similarities and use those as the basis for whatever position you want to present. As Rapoport noted “The outcome depends on the occurrence of one crucial insight: we are all in the same boat.”

Group of women sitting and listening intently.

Another version by Dennett can also be used – especially if one intends to engage in Radical Candor after having utilized Radical Listening.

1. Re-express the position so clearly that they say “I wish I’d said it that way”
2. List points of agreement – especially the points that are not clearly agreed on.
3. Mention what you learned from them and their position.
4. Give rebuttal and feedback.

When should one not use these – when there is a moral or legal issue that invalidates the core of the position.

Otherwise, letting go of “winning” and trying to hear and understand the other is much more likely to demonstrate common purpose and support EVEN WHEN YOU NEED TO DISAGREE or PRESENT AN OPPOSING POSITION.

#BeCouageous in your listening as a follower. It will not only help you improve your #followership, it will lead to clarity of purpose, strategy, and tactics. And it does wonders in support of #leadership.


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