PEARLS for Rapport-Building, Arnold on Criticism, Goat Negotiation, and More
Bring Ambition Newsletter - April 21, 2022
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1.) The PEARLS Method for Building Rapport
Many clinicians are trained in “Find it and Fix it” medicine: efficiently identifying and addressing health concerns and moving on to the next patient. Empathetic communication — “bedside manner” — is viewed as a secondary, often unnecessary skill.
Such is the case for many highly technical individual contributors, even outside medicine. The primary focus is on performance and technical expertise, and the human aspects of the job are secondary.
But these attitudes are evolving. A growing body of research shows that in doctor-patient relationships, effective communication improves health outcomes, encourages better patient compliance with clinical recommendations, reduces legal risk, and improves both patient and clinician satisfaction.
In short: When they like you, they listen.
The PEARLS method is used to teach empathetic communication and rapport-building in the clinical setting. The acronym stands for Partnership, Empathy, Appreciation, Respect, Legitimization, and Support. It’s an incredibly valuable and versatile framework, relevant not only to doctors but to anyone who wants to build relationships with others at work or in their personal life. Here’s how it works:
Partnership - Get beside the client and emphasize that you are working together to achieve a desirable outcome
Empathy - Work to understand and appreciate the client’s feelings; vicariously share their subjective experience while maintaining an observant, curious, nonjudgmental stance
Appreciation - Acknowledge the client’s experience and/or the barriers to their success (e.g. “Your effort really shows,” “You did the right thing asking for help,” I’m sorry you are frustrated,” etc.)
Respect - Show respect for the client and their values, choices, and experiences
Legitimization - Validate the client’s feelings and intentions
Support - Support the client’s efforts at improving, changing, etc.
These are not necessarily defined steps or a set process. It is an array of valuable tools you can use at various times to build rapport with others. I’ve found it especially helpful when I’m first meeting with a coaching client to put them at ease and cultivate trust. If you are in a helping profession, manage relationships at work, or just want to be a better friend or partner, give the PEARLS method a try.
2.) Arnold on Constructive Criticism
We’ve written before about the value of adopting a “less wrong” mentality and being hungry for feedback. On the topic of constructive feedback, we explained how “the short-term pain of criticism is worth the long-term goal of achieving excellence.” That’s exactly what Arnold Schwarzenegger explored in his most recent newsletter:
Arnold shared that during his bodybuilding career, despite being a widely admired wunderkind and dominating championships, he was constantly seeking out constructive criticism. He explains:
After every competition, I went to the judges and asked them to point out my flaws. Even when I won. I never wanted to hear about my strengths. I wanted to hear everything they thought was wrong so that I could continue to improve. I needed to hear my weak spots.
Arnold notes that everyone loves to focus on their strengths, but we grow most by avoiding wishful thinking and facing the stark reality of our flaws and development areas.
Even now, commentating his sports festival in Columbus, Ohio, he seeks out feedback from fans and attendees around how he can be better. It goes to show that no matter how successful you are, there’s always room to improve. He closes with some words of wisdom, delivered in classic Arnold form:
…when you hear constructive criticism - and I do not mean internet trolls - and your face gets hot, remember I was in the same position. And learning how to turn down the heat and listen has never hurt me.
3.) Goat Negotiation
“A 3-Minute “Goat” Negotiation Challenge (with Real Implications)” by James Sebenius. This is a great, short article on negotiation featuring a timeless parable about splitting goats. It shows how frequent - and common - it is to incorrectly assume that a negotiation is a zero-sum game, and act accordingly (to everyone’s detriment).
4.) Quote of the Week
“A mistake repeated more than once is a decision” — Paulo Coelho
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Have a great weekend!
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