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ARR: A Simple Practice with Big Impact

Speaking out in group, whether virtual or in-person, can feel intimidating. As a meeting leader, facilitator, or educator you can apply the simple practice of Acknowledging and Responding Respectfully (ARR) to deepen relationships, enhance engagement, and promote psychological safety leading to greater results.


ARR opens the door to learning from each other. It nurtures safe space for people to state their ideas and encourages candidness and openness. A subtle but powerful effect is the development of quality relationships. Dialogue in safe space enhances professional relationships. Positive relationships lead to the respectful understanding of others’ perspectives. This human connection through conversation provides a stimulus to deepen understanding of someone else’s thinking—and your own.


Positive relationships will encourage the candid sharing of thinking, leading to high quality actions and results. In order to acknowledge someone, you must first listen with the intent to understand what the other person is saying. Look for logic, coherence, and meaning in their understanding of the topic at hand. Once you process what you have heard, intentionally provide acknowledgement and practice responding respectfully:

  • Thank the person for sharing or explaining their perspective. “Thank you for explaining your perspective on this.”

  • Restate what you heard in your own words. “What I heard you say was… did I get that right?”

  • Mention the importance of their comments and be specific about how what they shared moved the conversation forward. “Thank you for making that connection…”, “Your contribution led us to think differently about…”

We invite you to notice how you are already acknowledging and responding respectfully in your interactions and consider how ARR might elevate the quality of your conversations.



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