One way to contribute to positive communication climates is to practice using confirming messages, which are statements that convey value for other people. Communication researchers have identified three types of confirming messages, which are described here in order from least to most confirming.
Recognition. The most basic act of confirmation is to recognize that another person exists and is worthy of your attention. Replying to a text message from a sibling, calling to ask about a friend’s day, and making eye contact with a new acquaintance you see in class are all ways of sending the message “I recognize that you matter.”
Acknowledgment. A more positive form of confirmation is to acknowledge another person’s feelings and thoughts. You engage in acts of acknowledgment when you ask someone’s opinion, solicit someone’s ideas, or inquire about someone’s feelings. Just as important as asking for that information is listening actively to what the person says.
Endorsement. The most positive form of confirmation is to provide endorsement, which is the signal that you agree with what another person has said. On some occasions, you may endorse another’s message fully, as when expressing complete agreement with an opinion. On other occasions, you may provide partial endorsement, as when you tell a friend that you agree with her feelings but not necessarily with her actions.
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