October 15, 2019

More than words

More than words
Words are representations and symbols we use to view, think about and process our perceptions of reality, and they are the means of sharing this reality with others…conversations are vital to the health and productivity of a company’s culture.

— Judith Glaser

I love this quote. I’m definitely most alive when engaged in interesting, connected conversations. That’s because the conversations we have with ourselves and others impact our neurochemistry. In other words, they determine AND reflect if we’re above or below the line. This in turn impacts our relationships with others and our perceptions of reality.

Glaser has a fantastic framework for diagnosing and shifting conversations (see below). She calls it Conversational Intelligence, reflecting the smarts behind great conversations. Simply put, choosing your words intentionally and being conscious of the energy you bring to conversations transforms your team dynamic and the quality of the work you create.

Connected Conversations

Most of us operate at level I or II – either transacting information or seeking to influence an outcome through positional power. Have a think about the conversations you’ve had in the past week. What level are they at? What would happen if we were less concerned with positional power and instead entered these conversations to co-create an outcome? Where we build on each other’s perspective, where there are no sacred cows just a desire to get to the truth or find a new frontier.

Not every conversation needs to be level III, but plenty more of them could be. Here are five tips for you to have more connected conversations…

  1. Cash up emotional bank accounts – invest in the relationships in the team by practicing empathy ie connecting with feelings. This creates high levels of psychological safety and trust that are essential for level III convos.
  2. Commitment to listening and learning – egos checked and left at the door, meaning everyone abandons their need to be right.
  3. Dedicate time – allocate a sufficient amount of time to explore options and head down rabbit holes.
  4. Priming – prime the conversation for connected energy by checking in with where people are at, call out any elephants that might be lurking and confirm intentions for a co-creating session.
  5. Connect with the body – your body is your first responder, what is it telling you about how open you are to different perspectives? What do you need to shift?

Let me know how you go!

Let’s stay connected.

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