Hearing the ‘Yes’ behind the ‘No’

A favourite author of mine reminds us to “Always hear the ‘Yes’ in the ‘No’. “. It reminds me of how distracted we get when we hear ‘No’. We get distracted, and perhaps quite rightly so, by our own feelings, needs, and the resulting disappointment. However, if we are to put ourselves aside, just for a moment, there is always a story behind a person’s ‘No’. Hearing the others ‘No’ can help us get to yes. Sales people know this!

So, what sits behind a no!? Well, take my daughter for example. The other day we were trying to go for a walk. A walk up a volcano as it goes. But, chores needed to be done first, but instead of an empty dishwasher we got a ‘no’. It wasn’t until much later, that we realised that our daughter was actually scared about getting lava’d and that’s why she was resisting. Or to put it very simply, her ‘no’ to doing chores was her saying ‘yes’ to her need for safety and reassurance.

For some reason hearing somebody say yes to themselves, is much less of an ego injury than hearing them say no to you – even though they are the same thing. The choice is there though. You choose your focus. Give a bit of empathy, or get frustrated and perhaps offended?!

So, next time you hit resistance with a client, employee, or your own manager, consider the ‘yes’ behind their no. Get curious about what that might be. Perhaps a couple clarifying questions are in order, and from that I bet you will discover a need. From that point, you may find a new solution that you both want to say yes to. 

If you want to know more about hearing needs, my online NVC resource is great. If I may say so myself 😉

Leave a Reply