Three Chemistry Lessons that Signal You’re a Friend or Foe

by Judith E. Glaser

Remember these three chemistry lessons when you’re communicating:

1. Be mindful of your conversations and the emotional content you bring—either pain – which closes the brain, or pleasure which opens the brain. Are you sending friend or foe messages? Are you sending the message “You can trust me to have your best interest at heart” or “I want to persuade you to think about things my way?” When you’re aware of these meta-messages, you create a safe culture that allows all parties to interact collaboratively, sharing perspectives, feelings, and aspirations and elevating insights and wisdom.

2. Conversations trigger emotional reactions. Conversations carry meaning—and meaning is embedded in the listener even more than in the speaker. Words cause us either to bond and trust more fully, thinking of others as friends and colleagues, or to break rapport and think of others as enemies. Your mind will open as you see the connection between language and health, and you’ll learn how to create healthy organizations through your conversational rituals.

3. Note that the words we use in our conversations are rarely neutral. Words have histories informed by years of use. Each time a new experience overlays another meaning on a word, the information all gets collected in our brains to be activated during conversations. Knowing how you project meaning into your conversations will enable you to connect with others and, in so doing, let go of much of the self-talk that diverts you from working together effectively.

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Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc., Chairman of The Creating WE Institute, an Organizational Anthropologist, consultant to Fortune 500 Companies, and author of four best selling business books, including Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Bibliomotion). Call 212-307-4386, visit www.conversationalingelligence.com; www.creatingwe.com; jeglaser@creatingwe.com.

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