The next time you have a difference of opinion with someone, before beginning an argument or concluding they’re wrong or crazy, practice the skill of Inquiry. Inquiry is a respectful way of probing in order to better understand another’s reasoning and can help you avoid drawing faulty conclusions based on false assumptions about what’s going on in the minds of others.
Here are sample phrases you can use to learn more about another’s thought process:
- Tell me more about what you mean when you say…?
- Which data are you using to support your conclusion?
- Please step me through your logic. I’d like to better understand your point of view.
Or, as an observer, you can make a process comment like, “I notice you’ve been quiet. What are some of your thoughts?”