Organizational Development Consultant

Nineteen Techniques to Gather Information: #16 New Shoes

July 24, 2014

“Participants in our meetings sometimes ask themselves `Is anybody listening?’ This tends to happen especially during heated debates. How can I be sure that people are truly listening, and that everyone feels that they have been listened to?”

#16 New Shoes

What are New Shoes?

The New Shoes technique helps ensure that people in your meeting groups are listening, understanding, and can explain the other perspectives being presented in the room. This is accomplished by asking participants to summarize what they heard to the satisfaction of the people who originally presented an idea or point of view.

This process doesn’t necessarily mean the participants agree with everything that has been summarized, but is designed to insure that people are listening and understanding.

When to Use New Shoes

  • When there are contentious situations in your meetings
  • When people are doing a better job at stating their side of the story than at listening to the other sides
  • When you want to reinforce to all participants that they have been listened to

How to Use New Shoes

1. Introduce New Shoes during a part of your meeting when it is particularly important that the opinions of all parties are understood.

2. As a group, listen to all points of view.

3. Ask people to state what they heard from the other participants’ points of view. Have them include facts and feelings. Note that they can summarize accurately without agreeing to what the person has said. Post ground rules for this exercise similar to those shown below.

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4. After the summary, ask the person whose viewpoint was being summarized to approve of the summary. That person or the facilitator can ask questions for clarification if appropriate. They may also make corrections if the summary is inaccurate.

NOTE: Give all participants the opportunity to have their viewpoints summarized by the others in the room.

5. Move forward with problem solving or whatever goal you were working towards on the agenda.

OPTION: When participants offer solutions, ask them to offer solutions that they believe would be acceptable to the other opinions, as well as from their own perspectives.

In Summary

New Shoes helps participants believe that their viewpoint and position has been heard by other participants.

1. Introduce New Shoes during a part of your meeting when it is particularly important that the opinions of all parties are understood.

2. Listen to all participants’ points of view.

3. Ask people to summarize what they heard from participants presenting another point of view.

4. Ask the people whose viewpoints were summarized to approve of the accuracy of the summary.

5. Move forward with problem solving or whatever goal you were working towards.

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2 Responses to Nineteen Techniques to Gather Information: #16 New Shoes

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