Murray Nossel: The Key to Professionalism

Master of Science in Narrative Medicine faculty member Murray Nossel, Ph.D., was recently featured in Business Insider. He highlights the key differences in communication among friends versus communication among coworkers. “‘Professional’ is supposed to mean that we put aside biases, judgments, opinions, and other prejudices and analyze things with some objectivity,” Dr. Nossel says. Applying the “What happened?” method can do just that. It helps people to focus only on what they observe with their five senses. For example, you should state the facts of a situation, not your thoughts or feelings about those facts. Here’s how:

1. Every time you've determined that a story is the most appropriate way to communicate your message, then your story should answer the question "What happened?"

2. If you are in a meeting, whether in a group or one-on-one, where emotions are running high because someone is upset about something (or you are), ask "What happened?" to cut through the fog of emotions and get to the heart of the matter. The details you bring up by asking "What happened?" can be acted on as a source of solutions to situations that you may have found challenging to deal with in the past.

3. When you find yourself stuck in front of a blank page or don't know where to go next in a conversation with someone, say what happened next. Think about the actions you took, what was said to you, what you said to others, and you will move forward.

Read the full story at Business Insider and learn more about the M.S. in Narrative Medicine program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.