When I was running assertiveness classes during The Eighties, one of the phrases that my partner and I encouraged our members to include in conversation was “What I hear you saying is…”
We spoke often of two groups who view the world differently and the difference is…
Group A views life as HOW it works.
Group B views life as WHAT works.
HOW comes with solutions and understanding. Those who ask HOW find answers and grow. Those who ask How rarely quote others and they usually appear to understand what they are learning.
Those who ask What tend to immobilize themselves. They seem frozen in time with no way to move forward. They rely heavily on group information and often quote those who support their claims. Their leaders may be students of logic but often twist the method, thereof, to prove pre-decided assumptions (not to be confused with conclusions).
When a WHAT person talks with a HOW person they are inclined to interpret what is being said because they live in a world of WHATEVERS, the components of which may or not be related.
An effective account manager whether a WHATEVERET or a HOWCOMERBY can improve their business relationships with feeding back to their client what they believe they are hearing.
“How’s that again? I’m sorry, What’s that you said?”

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