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Yes, and... !


Do you ever get stuck with how to respond to someone, or knowing what to say next?

Do you find yourself trying to explain yourself only to be lost for words or fighting to defend your meaning?

When we get into a conversation with someone, we often come into it with our own agenda, you know what you want and steer your interaction from your point of view. Sometimes though, it can be much more productive to be open to where the conversation goes.

Whether you are holding a performance management meeting, networking or making a sales pitch, the art of listening before speaking can be monumental. When we are trying to anticipate what someone else is going to say, we can miss what they are actually saying. It’s hard to listen and prepare our thoughts at the same time.

I have been attending an Improv Class for the past few weeks. I expected it to be fun, which it is, but it also taught me how much I anticipate a conversation. I know that listening is so important in any conversation and this class highlighted how I still want to control the situation and take the conversation where I wanted, or at least where I expected it to go.

With Improv, you really have no way of knowing what the other person will say or do. All I can do is say “yes, and...” go in the direction the other person was headed. While this process can be fun in this environment, and you can get really silly with your dialogue, in real life, when working with challenging or emotional situations, this can be much harder.

When dealing with time sensitive or critical decision making, using “yes, and...” can help open options rather than knocking them down.

You are meeting with your Senior Management Team and you hear, “We need to hit our financial goals; we may need to cut back” You think, No! What will that mean to me and my team? Before you jump in with a challenge, try;

Yes, and we can review all the options before we make a decision”

How often do you ask someone, “how are you today?” Expecting the usual, “fine thanks”. You say “great” and then carry on with your day. Imagine they respond with “actually not good, I just had some terrible news”. If you are on auto pilot and respond with “great”. That’s not so great!

By paraphrasing before you respond, (which is another form of “yes, and...”) you will not only make sure you listen and understand what the other person said, you will also demonstrate that you heard them. Take a breath. Allow your mind to translate what was said and then begin to form your response.

“You just got bad news?” Breathe. “That must have been a shock, do you want to talk about it?”

We all want to be heard, and often we are too busy trying to be heard, that we don’t listen. This is what makes communication challenging.

Using this form of deep listening and being open to hear and understand others helps us connect on a richer level. Which can only be a good thing, right?

Try “Yes, And-ing” and see where the conversation takes you.

You never know, you might have some fun or learn something new.

Let me know how you get on?


Thanks for reading, I hope this has given you some things to think about and you have some of your own Lightbulb Moments.

I'd love to hear about them.

If you would like some help experiencing them, I'd love to help.

Please share this with anyone you know who loves experiencing Lightbulb Moments.

Enjoy the Ping!

Viki Johnston

Viki Johnston, a Brit who has recently moved to Southern California with her family, is a self-confessed learning junkie. Having flunked out of school at 17, she spent the next 30 (cough) years trying to figure out why learning stuff is so hard. She made it her mission to help others believe in their abilities and achieve more than they thought possible. Now through her coaching and business focused training she helps others to experience the "light bulb moment" and strive to greatness.
Her heroes are Sir Richard Branson and Brené Brown for their inspiration, and her Husband, whom without she would never have been able to live a life full of her own "light bulb moments".


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