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This article was written on 13 Apr 2015, and is filled under EMSK.

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EMSK How To Remove Conflict From Conversation

These wise words were originally shared by unityhypno on /r/everymanshouldknow. unityhypno operates Unity Hypnosis in Melbourne, Australia and specializes in hypnosis to help with social anxiety and quitting smoking.

When we get challenged it becomes quite difficult to think and it almost feels like the shirt we have on suddenly shrunk three sizes in the wash and it disrupts the natural flow of the conversation which means that our ability to positively influence others goes down the drain. This article is about removing the sting from conversations that cause hostility, doubt and verbal aggression towards you.

People can challenge us for any number of reasons but generally underneath it all there is an underlying problem or pain that needs to be resolved for the argument to go away. If you can help people find this underlying pain you have the golden ticket to resolving the argument and you can both go back to your daily lives. On this note, the article is not about “being right” and winning the argument, but rather how can you help solve the issue at hand. On that note – if you are being challenged because you have screwed up, own up to it!

When people talk about their problems in life there is generally a layer of abstraction around their problem and it can take some time and patience to unravel the mystery and get to the heart of it all.

There are a couple of golden rules to keep in mind when you are looking for the pain points.

Golden Rule 1. Make sure your emotions are in check Mentally take a step back and take a deep breath in and relax for a moment. In that grey area of confusion when you’re not sure if it is an actual argument people’s emotions are very temperamental and it doesn’t take much for people to be sucked in and get overwhelmed by them. In Australia during the summer we have a term known as “Bush Fire Season”, this basically means that during the summer when we reach 40+ degrees we have to be extremely careful about creating sparks in the bush, because a single spark can start one of the most devastating bushfire that wreaks havoc across our country towns. People are very much the same, when someone has an underlying pain they may not be consciously aware of, if it is triggered people get overwhelmed by the emotion and any rational the person would have had goes out the window.

Anger is actually an important emotion designed to protect us when we need it. When we have our boundaries broken we get flashes of anger or psychological energy that allows us to push back and re-establish the boundary that has been broken where we normally may not be able to so that people don’t trample all over us. Anger becomes a problem when people use it as a means to cope with everyday life and they get themselves stuck in a loop – which is outside the scope of this article.

As most people’s emotions are heightened when they disagree with something, it’s equally important your are aware of what your are projecting onto other people, the things you say and do may not seem like much to you but they will be amplified to the other person, so make sure your attitude and behaviours are coming from the right place.

Golden Rule 2. Avoid using the question “Why” This rule may seem counterintuitive because most people’s default question to find out more information about something is “why”. What most people don’t realise is that most of our thoughts throughout the day are constructed from half truths and poorly constructed ideas that we are influenced by because of the media. In hypnosis “why” is known as a reality constructing question which means that when you ask it to someone, they have to look inside them self, search their feelings and experiences in life and form a thought based off the question, and the more emotions get attached to the thought the stronger they feel about it.

When you ask people “why” they will start looking for reasons to justify their experience and why it may be true, and as a result the issue becomes much larger for the person and they get sucked into the void the emotions create. This can make our job much harder when we are trying to solve the issue for the other person. If you were trapped in the wilderness, would you rather fight this gigantic hungry grizzly bear that’s practically salivating at the chance to eat you, or would you rather fight the baby grizzly bear?

Instead of asking “why”, people generally mean “how”.

Bad Example “Jimmy, why do you have odd socks on?” This sends the mind looking for reasons why they have odd socks on and it also locks them into a position, which might be difficult to change later.

Good Example “Jimmy, how did you manage to put odd socks on?” This focuses people on the process of finding odd socks and gives us more room to break the odd sock problem down.
Note. Use the “Why” question when you are moving someone in a positive direction.

Good Example “Jimmy, why are you so happy today?” This sends the person looking for justifications and reasons why they happy – why not make people smile

Golden Rule 3. When you attack someone’s opinion, you attack their identity Always treat whatever people say to you with respect. We tend to forget how vulnerable people are, and when someone is sharing something that is a pain for them we need to make sure we handle it delicately. When someone puts their opinion out there we out-rightly dismiss it with a wave of our hand it can appear offensive to them. As our beliefs about the world form our identity and come out through what we say, when you tell somebody their opinion is wrong, they will interpret it as if they are wrong. When you attack someone’s opinion, they see it as an attack on their identity. Nobody likes to feel wrong, and nobody wants to feel trapped in a corner so treat what people with care and respect.

Another idea worth point out is that as humans we have a natural desire to want to appear right, and everyone does enjoy having their ego stroked from time to time. Part of having charm and charisma is about making other people feel good when they talk to you. Can you put your ego on hold for long enough to find the pain point behind the other persons point of view.

A very wise hypnotist named Igor Ledochowski said “Change people’s moods and not people’s minds“. This is because of a crazy little idea that neuroscientists like to call “State Dependent Learning“. This basically means that the things we learn are dependent upon the mental state we are in. So when people are feeling good, they have mental access to all the other times they’ve felt good before, and the opposite holds true as well. When people are feeling sad or angry, they have access to those memories as well, so when couples fight they seem to be able to remember the flaws of their partners from five years ago!

If you are able to make the other person feel good about their misconception, you will be doing an amazing thing for them.With the golden rules above in the back of our minds, we can proceed to the technicalities of handling the argument.

Conversational Pressure In every conversation there will be an element of pressure that will come from the topic, how we are feeling in the moment, and our behaviour. There are also good and bad types of pressure that can be placed on someone.

For example Gently staring at someone with a warm smile while they think. (Good) Leering at someone, or looking at someone expecting them to do something (bad)

Another thing that happens when the dreaded silence appears in the conversation, to alleviate the pressure people will do one of two things because they don’t feel comfortable with the pressure. 1. They will fill it with fluff (useless words and conversation) 2. They will ask a question

For our purposes here during an argument, as the heat of the argument builds up more pressure will be added and when somebody makes an accusation against you, so we will leverage the “Ask a question” phenomenon to direct the pressure back on them, and this will inadvertently free up your thinking.

Step 1. Spot the implication. Find the hidden message in what we say In order to understand a conversation we have to be able to understand and process the message that is being presented to us. Things can be stated directly, or they can be implied with the message. We want to look for the implication behind what people say. To help with this there is a great frame work in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) called the Meta Model that will help you spot the implications in the message.

Step 2. Gently challenge the person by asking a question (Remember the golden rules here) Next, we want to challenge the person with question to hit back the conversational pressure at the person, or point out the implication in what they have just said. If we do this properly, people’s minds will short circuit because they won’t know how to answer the question.

This happens because of a part of the brain called the Amgydala which is responsible for processing emotions such as fear, anger, pleasure. When we are exposed to something unusual our brain short circuits and our critical thinking temporarily shuts down. Hypnotists use this phenomenon during hypnotherapy to break people out of problem behaviours like smoking and emotional issues so that people can start living happier and healthier lives.

Step 3. Compliment them When we change people’s moods by giving them a compliment or just being a force for good, it’s harder to argue with them. We also start breaking the argument cycle because people aren’t used to having nice things said about them when they are in “fight mode”. The other thing that happens when people’s minds have temporarily short circuited is that they probably won’t know how to verbally respond (it’s like walking into your house to find a friend has thrown you a surprise birthday party), so be a force for good and say something nice about them.

Here are some examples to see the process in action.

Example 1
Somebody checked their pocket for their phone when a stranger walked by who took offence to the action and said the following:
“Oh what? You think I’m going to steal your phone from you?”
(Implication: You think I’m a thief and will steal your phone)
Challenge: What would make you think that?
Accuser replies with: Well you just checked your pockets when I walk by and I’m offended!
Challenge: How does checking my pockets mean you’ll want to steal it?
Compliment: Well here’s the thing, I don’t know you very well and I have no reason to think anything bad about you.

Example 2
“What are you looking at”
(Implication: You are trying to start a fight with me)
Challenge: How should people look at you?
Compliment: You look like a really interesting person and you got my attention.

Example 3
“Say that one more time and see what happens”
(Implication: I want you to do something)
Challenge: What is this really about then?
Compliment: Maybe we can get to the root of this and fix it once and for all.

Example 4
“These are my friends, we don’t know you so leave us alone.” (said in the context of a party)
(Implication: You’re making us feel uncomfortable)
Challenge: So how do you expect to make new friends before you’ve had a chance to meet them?
Compliment: You see here’s the thing, we’re all out here to have a good time and you guys look really interesting!

As you can see in the examples above, each one highlights a different way of spotting the implication in what people say and starts turning the tables around in the conversation. We also start doing something nice for the accuser because they have a thorn in their side and we are gently pulling it out for them. Nobody enjoys having to have an argument with someone, and most of the time we just catch people on a bad day.

I know this is a shameless plug as I am the author of the article, but I thought it would help others. http://www.unityhypnosis.com/remove-conflict-in-conversations/

Edit – I’ve provided another example in a less confrontational environment where a fight won’t start.

Example 5
Let’s say you walk into a job interview and you’re asked an aggressive question like “Mr UnityHypno. Why should we hire you?” or “What can you do for us?”

Most people deal with this all wrong because they plead for forgiveness or start over qualifying themself and fall into a trap, or they turn into a telemarketer – and people will stop listening to you. Implication – I’m the boss, you will do as I say

Challenge – That’s a really interesting question, I’ve been thinking the same thing. Out of all the candidates you had on seek, why did you invite me in today?

This opens a discussion for you to find what the interviewer is really looking for. From my experience, the problem with most interviews is that you do not address the pain behind the person interviewing you (provided it’s not a recruiter), pain is what will motivate the person to do something. Even though it seems like you’re both talking about the same thing, the interviewer has a concept in their mind of what they are looking for in a candidate.

When you understand their pain, you’ve opened the door to help provide a solution for them. They are hiring you because they have a problem in the company, and you are helping them resolve it.

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