We easily confuse our strongly held opinions with facts. Any discussion on politics or religion will quickly highlight this point.
As intelligent and emotional human beings, we embellish facts with opinions and feelings. In the context of having helpful, truthful conversations the skill is to differentiate the facts from our opinions. We can also create empathy at the start of a conversation by addressing how we feel about the situation, without blaming the other person for our feelings. In my Critical Conversations course, I provide a model of how to do that!
In it's most simple form, it involves accurately labelling what we are communicating:
- I noticed [insert fact]
- I feel [insert emotional response to the fact]
- I think [provide your personal opinion]
How often have you seen people mix these three things up in their conversations?
- I noticed you don't like my idea .....(that's an opinion)
- I feel your idea won't work (that's also an opinion)
- I think I'm going to explode (that's a feeling)
I'm keen to hear from you.....have you seen examples of people claiming to be sticking to objective facts and yet mixing them up with opinions or emotions?