Labeling is when you spot feelings, turn them into words, and respectfully repeat them back to person. This validates and acknowledges the other party’s emotion.

  1. The first step to labeling is detecting the other person’s emotional state. This is often done by observing how people react to what you say.
  2. Label the emotion using “It seems like..”“It sounds like…”“It looks like..” which phrases the label as a neutral observation, rather than your observation “I think you you feel X”… which makes the person feel you are concerned with yourself.
    1. If the other person disagrees you can
  3. Silence (allow the other person to react and reveal themselves)

Labeling helps the other person to feel appreciated and understood.



Voss, C. & Raz, T. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. (Harper Business, 2016).