What is SAGE & THYME?

It's a mnemonic

A mnemonic is a pattern of letters that assist in remembering something.

Why is it called SAGE & THYME?

Watch this 2 min video to learn about the SAGE & THYME structure

The SAGE & THYME structure is based on communication skills evidence
Letter Word Summary
S Setting When you notice upset/worry, think first about the setting
A Ask Ask specifically about the worries (if they wish to speak with you)
G Gather Gather all the concerns/worries without attempting to ‘fix’ any of them
E Empathy Say something empathic such as “You have a lot to be worrying about at the moment”
T Talk Ask about their support network – who do they talk to?
H Help Ask how their supportive people help them
Y You Your ideas about what might help with the worries and concerns
M Me Anything you would like me to do – then my ideas if welcomed
E End Summary of the concerns/worries/plans and a closing sentence “Can we leave it there for now?”
It's a structure

The structure shapes the questions and interactions.

It guides the conversation with the worried person:

  • Notice when people are worried or upset
  • Respond in a controlled and organised way
  • Use the structure to guide the conversation from their worries to their support
  • Be supportive without having to fix their problems.
Their concerns, their support, their plans
It's a training workshop

The SAGE & THYME foundation level workshop is taught to 30 participants in 3 hours by three trained SAGE & THYME facilitators, using group work, a presentation and conversation rehearsals.

The SAGE & THYME Online workshop (equivalent to SAGE & THYME Foundation Level and delivered normally on Zoom) is taught to 20 participants in 2 hours 45 min by two trained SAGE & THYME facilitators, using group work, a presentation and conversation rehearsals.

Why learning happens
Learning styles Impact on learners
Mixture of presentations, discussions, rehearsals and films Includes and keeps their attention
The evidence for effective communication is described They feel motivated to change their behaviour
'Rehearsals' where the structure is demonstrated live They see how a situation suggested by them actually plays out
Small group discussions Learners talk and share their learning
Short film of SAGE & THYME being used They notice the efficiency and completeness of using a structure

It’s a simple guide for listening - it allows worried people to describe their worries and what might help - it steers the listener in and carefully out.

When we asked SAGE & THYME facilitators from outside our organisation for some quotes about SAGE & THYME they gave us:

Informative, educative and empowering.

Excellent session, really good delivery from facilitators.  Good amount of interacting / group work.

As a result of the learning I have done today, I am more likely to stop and think before I speak. [I] Understand the impact of my words and [will] allow time for the person to respond.