As I continue to rebuild the Intelligent Communication website from the recent crash, I thought I would share a blog article on appreciation that I originally published a couple of months ago. Given that Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I thought this article was particularly appropriate.
There is a proverb that states, “Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” Much good comes from showing appreciation. It benefits us, as well as those to whom we express it. People like to be appreciated. We also touch people when we appreciate who they are and what they do.
Appreciation in Negotiations
Recently the Program on Negotiation daily blog included an article, “For Better Communication, Try Appreciation.” The author shared communication insights from the groundbreaking book on negotiations, “Getting to Yes.” This book was written by the co-founders of Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation.
While the article described a number of communication tips from the book, it focused on appreciation. Expressing appreciation was something co-author and Harvard Law School professor Roger Fisher always stressed. He believed that no one liked to feel unappreciated. Further, he thought it was wise to “express appreciation by working to understand the other’s perspective, seeking merit in that perspective, and communicating understanding through words and actions.”
How do we do that? How do we develop an understanding of the other’s perspective?
Intelligent Communication and Appreciation
Understanding leads to appreciation. When we put forth the effort to really understand others, we will almost always find things to appreciate. This is because good listening and understanding invite others to share more and more with us. The interaction becomes deeper and fuller. As people share more and we seek to understand them, we learn more that we can appreciate.Developing understanding is fundamental to Intelligent Communication and Smart Talk. We believe that only by developing understanding can we communicate effectively.
I designed the Think and Feel component of Smart Talk to do just that…improve our understanding of others. Through it, we can truly listen to understand rather than simply listen to respond. I previously wrote about this idea in the blog article, “Shift Your Paradigm: Seek First to Understand.” (I will republish this article shortly. If you would like a copy, contact me by email and I will make sure you get it.)
The appreciation we are describing here is real appreciation derived from our listening and understanding. It is not the same as manufactured appreciation, which amounts to flattery. Flattery might sometimes appear to be appreciation. Oftentimes, however, people will see through it. Why not simply show real appreciation developed from real understanding?
Appreciation Has Its Benefits
We derive benefits from understanding and appreciating others. When we seek to understand, we gain important information about others. This information can guide our responses. Appreciation also leads to greater rapport. Understanding and increased rapport make our communication more effective. More effective communication helps us achieve our goals and objectives. Additionally, showing appreciation generally makes us feel better about ourselves and those with whom we are communicating.
So, give appreciation a try. Take time to understand others and discover how you can appreciate who they are and what they do. You really have nothing to lose. Appreciating others is like showing respect. I recall William Ury, the other co-founder of the Program on Negotiation, saying during a course, “Respect is the cheapest concession you will ever make.” The same is true for appreciation.
If you need assistance in how to use Intelligent Communication and Smart Talk to improve understanding and appreciation, contact me by phone, email, or the contact form on the home page..
When understanding to discover things to appreciate in others, it is always good to be swift to hear and slow to speak.