Book Summary: I Hear You Summary Michael Sorensen


The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships

I Hear You Book Review

“Simple and life-changing.” – Amazon Customer
“I already feel closer to people.” – Amazon Customer
“EVERYONE needs to read this book!” – Amazon Customer
“Entertaining and thought-provoking.” – Amazon Customer
“A must-read–and then use!” – Amazon Customer

About the author MICHAEL S. SORENSEN

Michael S. Sorensen is an award-winning author and marketing executive by day, and an avid reader, researcher, and personal development junkie by night.

Obsessed with finding the best principles and practices for living a rich, fulfilling, and connected life,

he seeks out and experiments with new and interesting ideas to discover what actually *works.*

Part I: The Power of Validation

Chapter 1: Why This Is Worth Your Time

“Being listened to and heard is one of the greatest desires of the human heart.

And those who learn to listen are the most loved and respected.”

Listen, seek to understand, and then validate

That third point is the secret sauce—the magic ingredient.


validation— showing interest in and affirming the worth of another person’s comments, requests, or emotions.

couples who learn to validate and support each other have significantly happier and longer-lasting marriages than those who do not.

Chapter 2: Validation 101

“Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood.”

We as humans are social creatures. We crave acceptance, appreciation, and a sense of belonging.

People who vent or complain already know how to handle their current situation—they’re just looking for someone to see and appreciate their struggle.


“Wow, that would be confusing.”

“He really said that? I’d be angry too!”

“Ah, that is so sad.”

“I totally get why you feel that way; I’ve been in a similar situation before and it was rough.”

“You have every right to be proud; that was a major accomplishment!”

“I’m so happy for you! You’ve worked incredibly hard on this. It must feel amazing.”


“You’ll be fine.”

“It could be worse!”

“At least it’s not [fill in the blank].”

“Just put a smile on your face and tough it out.”

“Don’t worry; things will work out.”

“Stop complaining; you’re not the only one who’s hurting.”

“It’s not that big of a deal.”

Chapter 3: Common Misconceptions

“Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued.”

You can validate anyone, even if you disagree with them. When you validate someone, you’re essentially saying, “I get why you feel that way.”

Validation is more than just repeating what the other person says. Simply reflecting another’s words, without seeking to understand the emotion behind them, can come across as inauthentic and disconnected.

Chapter 4: It All Starts With Empathy

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

When we sympathize, we feel for someone because of his or her pain. When we empathize, we feel the pain with them.


Empathy Tip #1: Get Curious

Ask yourself the following questions:

“What is this person’s background? Could past issues be influencing their reaction?”

“What if someone had done that to me? How would I feel?”

“If I haven’t had a similar experience, have I ever felt a similar emotion?”

“What if that were my [child/parent/job/dog/etc.]?”

Empathy Tip #2: Look at Them

Make eye contact. Recognize that they are a human being with fears, hopes, uncertainties, pain, and joy. Recognize that their life may be a lot harder than you know.

Empathy Tip #3: Imagine Them as a Child

Try picturing the other person as a four-year-old version of themselves.

Empathy Tip #4: Learn to identify your own emotions.

Become better at identifying others’ emotions by getting in the habit of identifying your own.

Empathy Tip #5: Quit judging your own emotions.

The next time you notice an emotion—any emotion—rising up inside you, check to see if you’re suppressing, avoiding, or accepting it.

Part II: The Four-Step Validation Method

Step 1: Listen Empathically

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

Give your full attention. If you’re distracted, let the other person know and ask to talk at a later time.

When you are available to talk, close your laptop, turn off the TV, and keep your attention on the conversation at hand.

Invite them to open up.

Be observant. As much as 70 percent of our communication is nonverbal.

Don’t Try to Fix It

If someone is venting or sharing a negative experience, do not jump in with advice unless they ask for it.

Offer micro validation. Offer short comments such as “no way!”, “seriously?”

Step 2: Validate the Emotion

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

Once there’s a pause in conversation or the other person is done sharing, move onto step 2 by offering more direct validation.

1. Identifying a specific emotion

2. Offering justification for feeling that emotion

Validate, even if you disagree.

Not sure what the other person is feeling? Ask

If you can relate, consider letting them know.

If you can’t relate, let them know.

Tell the truth.

Step 3: Offer Advice or Encouragement

Offering feedback or advice is entirely optional.

Avoid giving unsolicited feedback.

If you do give feedback, lead with a validating statement.

Use “and” instead of “but.”

Lead with “I” instead of “You.” Using “I” underscores the fact that you are sharing your perspective or opinion.

Avoid Absolutes like “always” and “never”

Step 4: Validate Again

“Be generous with encouragement. It is verbal sunshine; it warms hearts, costs nothing, and enriches lives.”

Re-validate the emotion.

Validate the vulnerability. Sharing personal thoughts, experiences, or emotions

can be difficult, uncomfortable, and even scary. If someone opens up to you,

thank them for it and validate the fact that doing so can be quite difficult.

Part III: Putting It All Together

Real-World Situations


L = Listening

MV = Micro Validation

V = Validation

AP = Asking Permission to Give Feedback

GF = Giving Feedback

VA = Validating Again

VV = Validating Vulnerability

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3 thoughts on “Book Summary: I Hear You Summary Michael Sorensen”

  1. Thank you! This is helpful. I work in customer service for a credit card company, and find this guidance helpful for crafting effective scripts for our associates to follow when dealing with frustrated and irate customers.


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