Getting Respected

The HUVA technique can help.

Posted Aug 08, 2020

Greg Habermann, Flickr, CC 2.0
Source: Greg Habermann, Flickr, CC 2.0

Many people wish they got more respect. One tactic that can help is HUVA, developed by Dr. Mark Goulston. The moment before you begin a conversation, you might remind yourself to do HUVA:

Heard out. Make the other person feel heard. You do that by not interrupting, speaking no more than half the time, and by keeping your utterances under one minute and roughly the length of the other person’s utterances.

Understood. Make the other person feel understood. You do that by nodding and by occasionally paraphrasing or making a reasonable inference from what they’ve said. For example, “So you’re feeling that you’re not being judged on your merits. Is that right?”

Valued. Make the other person feel that you value or at least are interested in what they're saying. You convey that by leaning forward, unfolding your arms, nodding, agreeing, amplifying, and/or asking a follow-up question.

Added value. Try to make your statements of value or at least of interest to them. For example, did you make a point that could improve some aspect of their life? This can be particularly potent if your comment was a plusser—it builds on what they said.

Conversely, realize that you pay a price for every minuser, for example, “Yes but," or “I disagree,” and especially, “You’re wrong!” Another minuser is a topper. That occurs when you say something that makes the person feel inferior. For example, after s/he excitedly talked about an upcoming trip to a local campsite, you say that you're going to Kauai.

After a conversation, debrief with yourself and maybe with the other person. You might say something like, “I’m trying to improve my conversational skills. Please be honest with me. Did you feel heard, understood, and valued? And were my comments and questions of real value or at least interesting?”

Whether or not you’ve asked for that feedback, until you automatically use HUVA, at the end of each conversation, rate yourself "Good" or "Not Good" on HUVA’s four components:

Heard out: Did I hear-out him or her? ____

Understood: Did s/he feel understood?  ____

Valued: Did s/he feel valued? ____

Added value: Did s/he feel that your comments were of value or at least were interesting? ____

The takeaway

Of course, being respected requires more than HUVA. We tend to respect people who are intelligent, kind, in control, and, even though it’s not valid, good-looking. But HUVA is a less-considered and perhaps easier path to respect and even fondness.

I read this aloud on YouTube.