Archive for February, 2016

How to really allow someone to vent

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

We all have times when we need to vent and hopefully, we all to have a special someone that we go to do this.  Learning how to do it well is not only a great service to those we care for but builds a reservoir of goodwill.  However, like so many things, it isn’t as easy as just saying “What’s up?  You need to make sure that you are ready for this, which means making sure that you have time to really listen to them.  Don’t ask if you aren’t in a safe place for them to vent.  It is a good idea to try to make sure that you are both in a comfy position.  Little things like getting up and closing the door, or turning off the TV can signal that you are listening.

It is wise to differentiate between situations when you think that you maybe the cause of the problem and when you think you are just asking as someone who cares. If it is the former, you might want to front up and ask ”Have I done something to upset you?”  Either way, you need to be prepared for the fact that when the dam breaks you are likely to get wet!  So, you need to just let it flow and don’t try to stem the tide, in fact quite the opposite, you need to encourage them to go on.  Nods, little affirmative sounds like Uha etc, nodding and smiling all help. You aren’t here to fix it (at least not yet), you are just letting them find their equilibrium, and understand what is going on, and maybe find their own solution.

Michael Rooni, the author of the book Attractive Communication, suggests you practice “no-solution” listening:

“Sometimes people simply want to release hurtful emotions and get something off their chest. And for them communication is not necessarily about having their husband or wife or co-worker come up with a solution. They just want to be heard and want to be understood because they’re hurting inside.”

Gregorio Billikopf suggests you incorporate an occasional “dangling question.” Say something like “So, your family makes you feel…?” And prolong the word “feel.”  This encourages them to finish the sentence for you and sets them off on another aspect of their journey.

Giving them permission to vent and carefully questioning them helps them feel exactly what they are and need to feel, this is in itself restorative, but also can lead to solutions.  It will certainly help you to be a better friend to them and you will learn what this is really about.

Once they are calmer they may want to know what you think or how you see it but if you let your desire to rush to the rescue and solve it for them to come to the fore too soon, you will almost certainly fail.

IS seeing believing?

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Not according to Dr Bruce H Lipton.  He feels that we can reshape our very genes by altering our beliefs.

I have written about this a lot and you can read all about here, Our Reality Model.  Our beliefs filter what data we take in, such as the tale that the indians couldn’t see Columbus’s boats when he hove into the Americas as they had no concept of anything like these ships.  (I doubt that anyone knows if this is true but it illustrates the point well.)  We don’t see or at least don’t assimilate data that we can’t process or understand the value of. 

Changing beliefs is a complex and (usually) long term proposition, but it begins by at least allowing that there might be another way we can interpret the data we have.  Are these men terrorists or freedom fighters; maniacs or heroes?  It probably depends on whether we are homeless Muslims or American marines. 

Recognising the power of the filters that govern how we experience our word is key to changing our lives.  Are we surrounded by riches and good people or is the World a scary place where everyone is out to harm us?  Of course a lot will depend on our direct experiences, but there is a wealth of evidence for both views, we have to choose what weight we give it.  Every time I turn on Radio 4 on a Sunday and hear tales of strangers saying “Thank you” to other total strangers who changed their lives I well up at the goodness that is out there. 

What does your future hold… well it is probably largely based on what you believe and if you don’t like the way it looks it might be time for a change.

What people look for when they meet us

Monday, February 8th, 2016

According to Harvard Business School Prof Amy Cuddy it is

  1. Can I trust this person? And
  2. Do I respect them?

We tend to judge the former on how warmly we feel towards the person.  This tends to come from a subliminal scan our primal self does to see if their audio matches their video, or in other words, does what they say match their body language.  And it tends to be the tiny, uncontrollable signs that we take in rather than the cruder, “Are their legs crossed?” type of thing.  If they don’t fully believe what they are saying, then they will signal their tension and discomfort and we will judge them less trustworthy.  She goes on to say that what they want to see is the authentic you.  She tweeted “Presence isn’t about pretending to be competent; it’s about shedding whatever is blocking you from being who you are.”

So whilst it is important to show a new colleague or prospective employer that you are good at what you do, you need to convince that you are good as your word.

Why 5 Y’s can be wise

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

The other day I was reminded of a technique I learned at the very beginning of my facilitation journey.  I suspect I mastered it in my childhood.  I was always the little boy that wanted to know Why?  My partner still (occasionally) gets annoyed when I revert to type.  I still like to know why.  The thing is it is easy to be fobbed off with the first answer you are given and it rarely reveals much truth.  In our fast paced world, it is easy to ask and settle for the first thing thrown your way, but I’d encourage you to dig a little deeper, but first a health warning.  If you don’t do this with sincerity and a transparent desire to help, you are likely to annoy the hell out of the other person.  Don’t be mechanical in your use of this technique.

This is a technique the Japanese espoused, it is asking why five times.  It goes something like this:- 

   1. Why are you upset?   Because James shouted at me…

   2.  Why do you think he did thatBecause he was cross with me.

   3.  Why would you think he was cross with youBecause I didn’t finish the report he asked for

   4.   Why didn’t you  finish the report  I didn’t have time as I had to check Mike’s numbers three times

   5.   Why did you have to check his numbers?    Because he doesn’t get his data in the same format from each client and he       tends to make mistakes

You can see how it might go… if you stop at the first level you are just dealing with emotions, after a few more iterations you have a number of issues to explore.  I learnt many years ago in the Samaritans to not accept the first reason that a client gave for ringing.  As male pre-programmed to provide solutions it is so easy to do this, but just sticking with it and delving deeper almost always reveals more, sometimes not only to you but also to the other person.