Conversational traps

We want to connect but somehow it goes wrong …

Trap one

I intend our conversation to be a sharing of information, a series of transactions to get things done and develop a shared point of view. The trap I fall into goes:  “I want you to know what I know, so I’m going to spend time just telling you how much I know”. The questions I ask you will be close-ended and designed to confirm and protect what I believe is true. This makes you to move into your ‘protect’ behaviour. The major blindspot here is the ‘Tell-Sell-Yell’ Syndrome. First I Tell you what I know. Then if I don’t think you’ve ‘got it’ sufficiently I start to Sell what I know to you. Finally I ramp up into Yell. And if I don’t Yell at you, I tend to Yell at somone else. Trust is very low.

The antidote is to develop the ability to ask open-ended questions and foster ‘give and take’.

Trap two

I set out to persuade and influence you, aiming to find a win-win solution. The trap I fall into is my need to win at all costs. The major blindspot is my addiction to being right. Every time I ‘win’, because my idea is validated as right, I get a pleasurable ‘hit’ of dopamine. If we don’t get the hit we feel something is wrong. The more we get trained in being right the more we want it. Dopamine got spewed into our brain every time we answered a question correctly at school, and then this continued at work. When we perform at work and are acknowledged for that, we are right again. When there is a group of people in a room and all of them are like this, everyone tries to outdo each other in being right. Any trust created is highly conditional.

The antidote is to develop the ability to share the conversational space with others, to expand the power to others rather than seeking to keep it for myself

Trap three

I set out to discover what I don’t know. I listen to connect with you, I ask questions I don’t have answers to, I’m empathic and curious about your views. I seek to co-create solutions with you. Trust is high. The trap I fall into is the tendency for too much talk and no action.

The antidote is to the ability stay connected while keeping the focus on co-creating mutual success.

Connection opens the space for growth and shifts the other person’s state. The trust created liberates the Executive Brain to enable our best thinking.

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