Communication 101: the importance of reframing

People & Culture

I recently took a course in mediation. What an eye opener. Watching my instructor masterfully manage a conversation in a way that I’ve never seen made me abundantly aware of the skill it takes to guide people through conflict to a collaborative solution.

What I took from this course was beyond anything I could capture in a blog but one thing I want to touch on is the skill of reframing. Reframing takes a statement made or an assumption and places it in a different way that removes adversarial tendencies or assumptions.

With the amount of work I’ve done around conflict in the workplace and aligning teams I really thought I had it nailed. Wrong—there’s much work left for me to do.

Reframing is a skill of subtleties that takes practice and an acute ear to notice the relationships between three things in a conversation:

  1. Action: the ‘thing’ that took place, words or actions
  2. Effect: the impact of the ‘thing’ on the other party
  3. Intention: the opportunity to better understand the reasons behind the action

Wanting to make sure that all sides are considered moving through action, effect and intention quickly and without formality helps focus all parties on a collaborative solution. Discovering the intention helps identify what the interest is. If interests are aligned, solutions can be found.

Marinate in that—I sure have. I promise you, it isn’t easy, but it’s worth the practice.

Mike Knapp


Mike has been helping businesses achieve their goals for more than 20 years. He believes there is a better way for business owners and leaders to build their businesses and achieve their big goals. As a Gravitas Impact Premium coach, he leverages the 7 Attributes of Agile Growth™ to simplify the art of strategy and discipline of execution.

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