Stress hormones debilitate success. What, pray, say you, could be the solution. Conversational Intelligence is called for. This skill, the golden thread to communication, resulting in success in the workplace and in our private lives, is the global first-aid kit for success and the glue that will keep our relationships together.
When we feel emotionally rejected and trampled on, our reaction is to withdraw. This is caused by cortisol, our stress hormone. What we require is to develop the trusting, communicative and empathetic hormone, oxytocin, to listen and communicate wisely.
We’ve all known, or might be, or have worked for, a boss who never listens to their team but TELLS them what to do. That manager is thriving on dopamine, the reward hormone, without understanding the reasons for sales slipping and staff not performing as they should. This boss, or spouse, needs to learn to LISTEN and develop the art of Intelligent Conversation - in other words, their oxytocin needs a boost and maintenance to encourage empathy and wisdom in others.
We too often lament how our family, partners and colleagues interrupt, criticise and ignore our attempts at communicating.
This leads to constant bickering and frustrations, typical behaviour when we feel unappreciated and disrespected. In simple terms, our cortisol levels are high, resulting in low trust, commonly known as Level in Conversational Intelligence terms.
Conversational Intelligence is based on upping our oxytocin levels, the hormone that helps us gain insight, understanding, and most importantly, trust of sharing success. By developing the simple skill of listening before dictating, we can train ourselves to ditch the cortisol hormone of talking and dictating with no regard for our colleagues or fellow man, to improve our oxytocin levels, resulting in shared success, truth telling, being co-creative and trusting.
Do YOU relate to the following:
- Do you feel that your family doesn’t listen to you and that they always speak over you, interrupt and criticise you?
- Are you frustrated that your offspring don’t listen to you and that you are unable to connect with them, leaving you frustrated, angry and unhappy?
- When you argue with your spouse or partner, do you feel that he/she is not really listening or trying to understand your point of view and that you are each having a monologue talking past each other and not with each other? This causes you to feel hurt and unappreciated.
- Would you like to learn how to restore your relationship leading to peace in the home and a harmonious, happier, healthier family?
- Do you sometimes wish you knew how to deal with an irate, overbearing friend who speaks in a derogatory, condescending manner and how to turn such negative behaviour into a positive situation?
- Have you had a disagreement with a colleague and immediately feel angry and betrayed? Your body freezes up? You can’t find the words to respond?
- Do you often have a bitter argument with your spouse or child and wonder how it started and how to fix it?
- Often when starting a conversation with your spouse, children, boss, colleagues or clients things don’t go as planned? and
- In the blink of an eye you get ‘triggered’ causing you to go into ‘self-protect’ mode.
The result is you stop listening to each other, you become entrenched in your thinking and you can’t see the other’s point of view.
The reason for this is based on the chemistry in the brain where cortisol (the stress hormone), and adrenaline flood your brain creating fear and distrust and shutting down the part of the brain, your executive brain, used for getting along with each other, seeing things from each other’s point of view and where connection and engagement take place.
This executive part of the brain is responsible for your conversational skills, trust, empathy, foresight, insight and wisdom as well as your new ideas and strategy – all of which are shut down when you feel the interaction is threatening you emotionally, or even physically.
The result is that a simple conversation ends with people withdrawing or in a conflict situation with arguing, raised voices and talking past each other, instead of with each other. Consequently, nothing is achieved and nobody wins.
In a team, collaboration and teamwork declines, performance and productivity plummets; in personal relationships it results in tears, fear, frustration, heartbreak, resentment and anger.
Acquiring successful conversational skills is easier than we think:
- what ‘triggers’ me or others;
- how to prevent the ‘trigger;’
- learning how to move back into trust after being ‘triggered;’ and
- creating a relationship based on trust, inclusivity, collaboration and engagement.
This results in closer and more trusting relationships, where each party feels safe to share their thoughts without fear of repercussion. Relationships improve, families rebuild and colleagues transform into a successful team, whereby they become co-creators.
Fraser Carey, Conversational intelligence (C-IQ) Masterclass, Life by Choice and is the co-founder of the School of Etiquette in South Africa.