Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Keep the flow

Have you, after meeting new people, felt that "that person was not my type" or "we didn't have "that"-the flow, or "that was a weird meeting" or even "what just happen there?". I admit, that happens to me a lot. But as well, other times its the other way,"we just had that flow" or "the meeting was so good, energy sparkeled everywhere" or "what a lovely person" or just a little dumb smile that holds to next meeting, maybe some angry eyes walking on the street.

To feel it in every situation- like in the shop, seeing people on the street walking, meeting friends friends, or at conferences, before lecture starts in the morning- is maybe not something we reflect and remember the rest of the days, but if you meet someone a little longer, its like you got to know them in relation to yourself and how you can work together- even if it just for a clue.

Some know the dance of meetings well, and can talk to almost anyone- question is if they are intrested in everyone or just social talent. Others might care a lot but can not even ask the questions she or he wants to, to not be rude or too curious. Some talkes about their experiences, their reading news, drinking habits or late nights- but is it a social skill to just talk when its not interesting to any?

Things that can be good to use in a good conversation can be used from the book Interviewing for solutions (De Jong, Berg 2007), where some of the "Skills for not knowing" also can be good in a meeting with a new person.

  • Listening (who and what is important for the person)
  • Affirming perceptions ("uh-hm", "sure","I can understand why you did...")
  • Responding (ask questions of why/how/when..)
  • Complimenting (respond to something said before, can be a question)
  • Key words (see if special words are used)
  • Paraphrasing (what they just said)
  • Natural empahty (not too much, be carefull with own experiences)
  • Normalizing (all kids do like that..)
  • Relationship questions (who/how/why do you know)
  • Scaling questions (0-10 in happieness etc.)
  • Nonverbal behavior (body language)

Another way of doing it well is with Nonviolent Communication (NVC), which is a way of talking to make sense between two people so they really understand each other. NVC can be used in a conflict or just to smoothering a conversation. The homepage present, Nonviolent Communication as;
a way of relating to ourselves and others, moment to moment, free of past reactions. By learning to identify your needs and express them powerfully, as well as to bring understanding to the needs of others, you can stay connected to what is alive in you and create a life that is more fulfilling.
The book Nonviolent Communication (Rosenberg, 2003) gives many examples of talks between wife and husband to find the needs that are there but which are not listening to, e.i not understood deeply, and also how to understand and solve war-situations with the methods. From the homepage;

How to do that [understand another's needs] can be with some concrete skills for manifesting the purpose of creating connections of compassionate giving and receiving based in a consciousness of interdependence and power with others;
  1. Differentiating observation from evaluation, being able to carefully observe what is happening free of evaluation, and to specify behaviors and conditions that are affecting us;
  2. Differentiating feeling from thinking, being able to identify and express internal feeling states in a way that does not imply judgment, criticism, or blame/punishment;
  3. Connecting with the universal human needs/values (e.g. sustenance, trust, understanding) in us that are being met or not met in relation to what is happening and how we are feeling; and
  4. Requesting what we would like in a way that clearly and specifically states what we do want (rather than what we don’t want), and that is truly a request and not a demand (i.e. attempting to motivate, however subtly, out of fear, guilt, shame, obligation, etc. rather than out of willingness and compassionate giving).
Try to have a flow of a conversation, when one of the people do not care about what the others are saying! We have always "eldsjälar", "enthusiasts" (driving forcees), which can be good at their specialties, but what to do with the rest? Just assume that we do not want to talk to them, because they does not seem to want to talk to us?

In the process of sustainable development, we need to talk to everyone, even if difficult. But to start we might believe that it is easier if we do something together?! To have a common goal, or having the feeling that we need to do something, is the first step. Next is to create confidence in this process. This confidence must be built on the feeling of being important.

Eldsjälarna can't take the full process by themselves, even if other people "seems to think like them". To make this balance walk is to walk on the thin rope between two trees, with help from your friends on the sides. It takes a bit more time, but everyone gives their energy, concentration and collaboration. And in the end it feels like we were all in the process, and all of us made it flow.

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