You’ve just had an argument with a partner or colleague about how your perspective didn’t match on an issue. You’re agitated, anxious or maybe even emotional from the interaction. And if you’ve ever been embarrassed by having another person witness you passionately in an auditory debate with yourself, you’re not alone. I know I have been so heavily into unpacking and rehearsing my next interaction that the distraction had me driving past my destination and straight home.
Ok, Daffney this doesn’t sound like a superpower, but it actually is. This is Self-Coaching and it’s an incredibly effective pre-negotiation tool for having healthy and productive interactions and conversations with yourself AND others. Only 45% of our communication is active listening and many individuals can lack the cognitive skill to listen effectively in conversations with others. This is not a disorder, but actually an unlearned skill or defense mechanism in conversations.
When you are able to rehearse and speak your perspective out loud you not only release healthy hormones, but you also allow yourself a chance to hear and process your own words. This active listening technique gives you the superpower to tailor the conversation you need to have with the person who will be listening.
We actually begin Self-Coaching and talk in our toddler years according to Psychology Today and helped us develop self confidence in learning tasks and managing emotions. One study shows it can help us more effectively find missing objects. So why do we we no longer use this superpower? The answer is plain. Social shaming and antiquated mental health stigma.
When you allow yourself to speak and your thoughts evolve uninterrupted, you can more quickly to get to the root of your concern or frustration. Without judgement and with our emotions raw on display, we can separate fact from interpretation and emotion from the matter. It takes practice, but might sound something like this.
“I cant believe he just cut me off in that meeting! I spent six hours preparing that document and he clearly didn’t read any of it. What a jerk!”
Now practice addressing the situation not the person.
“Hi Sven, I wanted to talk about our client meeting yesterday. I have some concerns with the data given that may affect the client negatively. Here is the most pressing one.”
Social cue deficiency, egos and miscommunications from you too can be to blamed for poor interactions. By focusing on what you do have control over (in this case, data based information) you are able to be effective and remove your own communication blindspots.
Talk it out with yourself. What is your desired outcome or what is it you want the other person to understand? Setting real expectations for how that person might react and even take into consideration the underlining tones of your own voice as you rehearse. Are you looking to approach your boss for a raise, a promotion to partner or just some well-deserved time off?
Unflappable and steadfast. When you practice out loud, you give yourself an opportunity to remove emotions that may overshadow your powerful delivery. Calm is powerful. You can speak with passion and conviction, because you have already assessed any possible frustrations or emotional inflection that might distract your listener. Ready to set clear boundaries with your teenager or in-laws?
Becoming an effective coach is a practiced set of skills. Ask any FBI trained negotiator. These skills are valuable in every decision, relationship and interaction. Empowering yourself to listen, organize and understand your own perspective is a superpower.