Anyone else?

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…you hear people make statements so emotionally charged that they put themselves at risk of being isolated or labeled.

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Ignoring a frustrated person—moving on to other topics—leaves emotionality hanging like a thick fog in the air.

  1. Ask an ”Anyone Else?” Question—Act when you hear people make statements so emotionally charged that they put themselves at risk of being isolated or labeled. Ignoring the frustrated person, moving on to other topics, leaves emotionality hanging like fog in the air.
    • Ask around, “Is anyone else feeling frustrated?”. Look around for nods and ask, “What do you experience?” Others may chime in and add. The group and dialogue is working again. This acknowledges the subjective reality of those sharing a feeling. Finding an ally in effect creates a subgroup and avoid anyone becoming a scapegoat. Act to help the group accept frustration rather than turn it into further aggression.

Rules of Asking “Anyone Else?”

  1. Listen for the intensity of the feeling, and note what happens in the group. Many statements do not require a response, only to get it out.
  2. Cite the content of a statement only when the content does not threaten a personal attack or a divisive argument.
  3. Cite only the feeling behind the statement if the issue is potentially divisive. In other words, find a subgroup for the feeling that acknowledges the feeling and keeps it legitimate.

Asking “Anyone else?” preempts the habit of people saying “I'm sure I'm the only one who feels this way…” or “I know I speak for many others when I say…” Whenever you hear this, ask, “Anyone else feeling the same way?”

From the start, seek to validate every person's experience.

Therefore:

Validate every person's experience. Ask around, “Is anyone else feeling the same?”. Acknowledge any nodders and start a subgroup dialogue.

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Don’t just do something, stand there!—Ten Principles for Leading Meetings That Matter by Marvin Weisbord, Sandra Janoff

Facts about "Anyone else?"
AuthorMarvin Weisbord + and Sandra Janoff +
Goalkeep everyone included and focused at the task at hand, even when emotionally charged +
PearlSubgroup dialogue +
SoValidate every person's experience. Ask around, “Is anyone else feeling the same?”. Acknowledge any nodders and start a subgroup dialogue. +
Wishacknowledge real feelings and keep everyone included and focused on the task at hand +