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No. 14 – The Feel, Felt, Found Approach

January 26, 2011

Thanks to Gary Bortz, RRPT for offering the “feel, felt, found approach” for responding to radiation fears. He learned this approach in a real estate seminar as a five second method for winning someone over to your point of view. The approach is based on three phrases: “I know how you feel. I felt the same way. But, here is what I found when I…(checked closely, read this book, etc.)”

Gary says this approach shows empathy and breaks down the walls of defense based on fear. It also shows the other person that you are both alike, and it starts the other person on the road to your viewpoint. you may find this approach useful because it is simple, fast, and addresses the feelings of the other person. Perhaps this approach could work even better by including a description of the feelings.

Describing the Feelings

Another approach to radiation fears is to respond with words that describe the actual feelings, i.e. “You are troubled (nervous, concerned, upset, anxious, distressed, annoyed, bothered, disturbed, etc…) about radiation.” This response lets the other person know what you believe they are feeling rather than saying, “I know how you feel.”

Unfortunately, we may never really know how other persons feel. Feelings are always complex (a combination of feelings) and related to a person’s lifetime experiences which cannot be known by someone else. People who rely on feelings for communication may hear the response, “I know how you feel” as not hearing their actual feelings. The “feel, felt, found” approach may also lead them away from feelings to rational thinking. “Thinking” types may want this, but “feeling” types may feel cut off from their primary mode of communication.

When we respond with a paraphrase of the other person’s feelings, we then open the opportunity for them to clarify, amplify, and express their feelings. People with feelings want their feelings heard. They do not want to be cut off or put down. For you “thinkers,” my wife asks, “How would you feel if someone said, ‘I know what you are thinking’ and did not give you the opportunity to express your thoughts?” When we respond with descriptive words for feelings, others can judge whether we heard the feeling they wanted to communicate. Until the feelings are expressed and heard, feeling types will not be ready to move on to a thinking type analysis of data.


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