What do other people think?

Tom McCallum
5 min readJun 8, 2020

I’m going to let you into a key psychological trick that coaches use to get inside the head of our clients when they can’t or won’t say what they really think. We ask “so, what do other people think?”, or similar linguist devices that don’t directly ask for their own opinion.

Here’s the thing. When you say what “other people” think, you are really saying what YOU think.

Yes, there are degrees to this, but as you read on, particularly if you are white, there will be a degree to which what you read that makes you uncomfortable. As with my post yesterday, “Be a Point of Light”, please get comfortable being uncomfortable with this.

The example I am going to give again comes from John Amaechi.

John’s example around “what do other people think?” is stark and shocking.

Tortoise — Participative Journalism

Last week John and I were both on a weekly news meeting of Tortoise, a membership news organisation that is doing amazing and humble work investigating around some key themes for our world and engaging way beyond their great cadre of journalists to find themes and information, keying in on their wide and open membership base.

For more on Tortoise and how brilliantly they are engaging over Zoom in this pandemic world, see this post: “What can you do better online than offline?”.

This particular Tortoise weekly news meeting had a great panel brought in to talk about US policing. After the panel spoke, the moderator, James Harding, then brought in the audience. I’ll let you see me on camera first, then please do focus on John’s contribution, it is very powerful.

Source rather than Outcome

As a regular in the audience, James called on me early on, so I quickly made a point (yes, in under a minute, rare for me!) as follows (and yes, a link to me on camera first, a rarity). So, link to my one minute, then a transcript, then on to John Amaechi.

Tom McCallum

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