How would you rank your listening skills? Do you try to understand the content, or are you just biding your time, antsy to pitch in with your own thoughts?
Listening more effectively is just one tool Ginette Gamache, facilitator and coach at Reframe Leadership, discussed with Farmtech delegates in January, in her session on relationship awareness. Gamache’s goal, really, was to improve participants’ understanding of themselves, and others, to help build positive relationships.
“There’s some wonderful, wonderful research out there,” she told us between concurrent sessions, adding that we’re now in the decade of brain science.
In her interview with RealAgriculture’s Debra Murphy, Gamache gave some powerful tips.
Words like never and always stimulate emotion, not logic, she said, making communication shift from an issue or topic to a defence. In fact, social threats like this trigger the same chemical response as the “fight or flight” response we all learned about in grade school.
We’re also less likely to use polarizing words like those mentioned in discussions with strangers, because, oddly, we tend to be nicer to strangers.
We need to encourage ourselves to be nicer to family, Gamache said.
But that’s not always easy in the heat of the moment. That’s why, when you feel an emotional response boiling to the surface, you need to take a breath.
“You give yourself a couple breaths,” she explained, and “it allows those chemicals to settle a little bit, and it allows the blood…to get back to the frontal cortex, where you can start making those more rational, executive decisions in a way that you’re going to feel happier about later.”
You can also do things to help your body alter your emotions (remember the power pose?). If you feel your arms are crossed, move them, Gamache suggested. This won’t just send a message to your counterpart, but also to yourself.
Tips like these will help you stay productive, spending less time cleaning up relationships.
“And the other thing is, stress is a killer,” Gamache added. “Words actually have way more impact on the body than [scientists] knew.”