“A wise man fills his brain before emptying his mouth.” African Proverb
I think this is a delightful way to say what sounds to me like, think before you speak or it’s more important to listen than it is to do all the talking. Either way we can co-create a much more connected conversation. But of course conversations are not just about the words we use, they are about our body language, and the energy we put out before we even open our mouths. We pick up electrical signals from the other person when we are within 300 cm. Once they do start to speak we can tell by the tone of their voice, whether we feel comfortable or whether we feel we can trust them. We can tell if the words they are using are excluding us or if they’re angry at us, whether we feel like we’re taking risks, going to be judged or rejected. If this happens we immediately activate the stress area of our brains. The area of the brain responsible for good connective conversations, the area that is good at making decisions and can trust other people, gets shut down.
What can happen is that we also assume certain things because of our past experiences, not just about this person but about experiences that are similar. We assume that everyone else thinks and feels exactly like us even though we know that to be untrue. We can find it difficult sometimes to walk in their shoes and feel what is going on for them and we don’t actually realise that our feelings can change our reality. Lastly all my experiences build up a picture as you are speaking but unless I ask some clarifying questions I may have the ‘wrong end of the stick,’ as they say. Paying more attention to our conversations can be very valuable if we want to improve our relationships at work and at home.
Enjoy feeling good as you connect in your conversations!