Help me to understand

Help me to understand is one of my, well helpful phrases. It helps to keep lines of communication open, achieve a mutual understanding or at least get to a point where both parties can agree to disagree respectfully. I’ve used different variations such as:

  • Help me to understand your rationale
  • Help me to understand how you arrived at this conclusion
  • Help me to understand your thinking on this point

Listen to understand

I recall being asked to advise on a consultation halfway through the process. The individual affected by the change was vocally resistant to the change because she believed it to be a ruse contrived by her manager to move her from her current position.

At the first consultation meeting, I asked her about her views on the consultation to ascertain why she had such strong opinions. As I listened to her, I began to understand her perspective. The strength of her objections did not lessen; but, our conversation and subsequent conversations were always mutually respectful.

While the relationship between the staff member and, her manager never recovered the experience taught me about the importance of taking time to listen and understand someone else’s viewpoint genuinely.

Try it

If you are ever in a situation where you don’t understand someone else’s perspective, or you don’t want to understand and, you are tempted to become annoyed, pause. Take a deep breath. Instead of being quick to say:

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You’re talking rubbish.”

“Forget you.”

Consider taking the conversation in a completely different direction and, asking one of the variations of help me to understand. It can help you to avoid burning bridges and, possibly eating humble pie. Who knows, the other person or persons may enlighten you to a perspective or point of view that you would not have otherwise considered.

It’s worth a try – isn’t it?

Hello, I’m Dawn. I am an HR consultant, coach and blogger. I hope you found this blog useful if you’d like to receive regular content, we’d love to have you – press the subscribe button.


Please note that this post does not constitute specific HR or employment law advice if you require help please contact an appropriately qualified professional or drop me an email  –

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.