The Ugly Truth About Conversations

By Mary Verstraete

Nothing happens without conversation, yet communication challenges are massive in today’s world.

Certainly on a positive note, remarkable and incredible accomplishments have been achieved because of conversation. Can you imagine the conversations that took place when the iPhone was being developed! Many of us are enjoying the rewards of those conversations. If you’re like me, your iPhone goes everywhere with you and you can’t imagine a time without it.

The ugly truth is that conversations destroy relationships, causes lawsuits, betrayal—a long list of repercussions surround us because of broken conversations. Most people don’t take the time to generate awareness of what it is that breaks down communication nor take time to be intentional in developing their ability to achieve consistent masterful conversations.

Let’s look at just a few basic common drop offs that occur. Judith Glaser explains three blind spots in conversation:

  1. Assumption that others see what we see, feel what we feel, and think what we think.
    • When we are engrossed and attached to our point-of-view, we are unable to see the other person’s perspective.
    • When we persuade others we are right, a natural high occurs in our brain [dopamine] that makes us feel good that we made our point. Winning a point may make us feel good but it makes others feel devalued, not heard, and shut down.
  2. Inability to turn off judgment and intentionally to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. People experience our words and people easily perceive when they are being judged.
  3. Assumption that we remember what others say, when we actually remember what we think the other person said. When we presume what we heard a person say, we filter the remaining conversation through that filter and miss the actual meaning of what the person was communicating.

What are the consequences from these blind spots? 

You’ve created distrust. This distrust sits in center of your conversation and collaboration and understanding have been banished. People feel threatened, not understood, and move into protective behaviors.

Rapport and trust don’t suddenly appear, but are cultivated. Remember, in conversation people share their view of reality, their perspective, and what is important to them.

An important questions to ask ourselves: Do we treat a person’s information in a dignified manner, validating his or her reality, and then ask skilled questions to explore further into that reality for a insightful solution or decision?

How would you rate your conversations? 

Effective conversations just don’t happen. I would like to encourage you to make time in your schedule to set a goal: Increase effectiveness in my conversations by equipping myself with the tools to facilitate skillful conversations.

To get the next level of greatness depends on the quality of the culture, which depends upon the quality of relationships, which depends on the quality of the conversation. Everything happens through conversation. –Judith E. Glaser

Leave a Reply