Erica Marx

Translated Rant

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One person rants for 60 seconds. The second person translates their rant into what they care about and value.



conflict = someone cares
gain skill of translating upset of self and others into core values
learn a superpower listening technique 



    1. Form pairs. 

    2. Player A rants for 60 seconds on pet peeve (true rant)

    3. Player B is instructed to listen for:
    - What they care about
    - What they value
    - What's important to them
    Write these prompts on paper or show a slide so they can be used as a reference.

    4. Player B translates the rant into what they care about and value using the sentence starters such as 'you care about... you value ... ' and not including any of the negative rant. Player B checks in with Player A to make sure they got it. Player A can add a bit.

    5. Switch roles

    6. Debrief

    Facilitator Notes

    Be very clear that the listener is only to reflect back the translation and not any supporting negative evidence. For example, "This is Mary and she cares about good communication, unlike her sister Susan who doesn't even think to call when its her birthday".  Be prepared to gently stop people if they start going into the rant content. 

    DEMO this activity so it is clear what you're looking for. Show the sentence prompts from the start.

    If you're good at this activity yourself you can add on to people's share (with permission) to help people get to the deeper values.


    Useful anytime when any application when teaching about conflict and/or seeing the perspective of another. People get upset when they feel something they care about is being threatened. Rant helps people see what's underneath the conflict. What do they care about? What do they value? What are they trying to protect? 

    Listening Skills

    This is active listening on steroids because it bypass emotions and go straight to values. Excellent for teaching deescalation and perspective taking.

    This exercise can also help people better express themselves, especially when stakes are high by getting clear on what you care about. When you're clear about that you can lead with that, be more grounded in your presentation, and be better able to form alliances with others who share your core values. 



    Rant be used for introductions. After both people rant & are listened to with this intention, they are introduced by their partner to the group "This is ___ and she cares about ____" I tell them to listen for what this person cares about and what's important to them. So sometimes they choose that sentence stem. "This is ___ and __ is important to her." It's lovely to see people receive the reflection in the circle, stated as simple truth. And the rest of the group often says 'awwwww' to each one. <3

    Team rant
    In a team or workplace setting... what are the complaints? Have people rant about the complaints on the team. What does this show you that your team values? 

    Break the listeners reflection into 2 parts: 
    1. "Here's what I heard you say/talk about" (direct reflection of words)
    2. "Here's what I hear you care about" (the translation)

    Influence Activity -- Developed by Jackie Gnepp

    1. Person A: (Speaker) Speaker thinks about something someone has asked them to do that they don't want to do (or could be something that you're resistant to yourself)
    2. Person B (Listener) Name the value that is being challenged by this task they are resisting. If they don't get it quite right, the speaker can adjust until they find the value that feels correct.
    3.  Person B (Listener) Then the listener then asks what could I say to a person who values ___ to convince them to do the desired task.
    4. Have a conversation - Would this work for you? Work together. 


    Source of this activity:
    It is based off an improv theater game where people rant about topics. Translated Rants was originally taught to me at an Applied Improvisation Network conference. AIN is a professional network of facilitators and coaches using principles and activities adapted from improvisational theater in non-theatrical applications that freely share activities with each other.

    About me: I am the owner of Erica Marx Coaching, a team coaching company based in Ithaca, NY. We take a relationship systems approach to creating cultures of collaboration in organizations. We offer retreats, workshops, trainings, keynotes, executive & team coaching, and longer-term engagements with organizations.
    (607) 269 - 7401

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