The Truth of Influence and Connection

Establishing long lasting and positive relationships

Photo by itsPortAdelaide

We all do it, we have strong opinions and points to make that other people must hear. If they don’t agree they’re wrong, because we obviously know better. The problem is when everyone thinks their right, the math doesn’t add up. In most social interactions there is no right or wrong, it’s just our own interpretations of reality that we believe to be fact. Until we start listening and understanding other peoples realities, we will never truly reach peace as individuals or societies.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good verbal sparring match and live for competition, but we are not talking about competition, we are talking about ignorance and a complete lack of connection to our fellow human beings. We are constantly going on the attack to prove other’s are wrong, we don’t realize it’s simply reinforcing their defenses. We are proving that they have something to protect because otherwise why would we be attacking it?

It’s the same reason torture doesn’t get accurate information and negotiations that end in a win/lose situation are not beneficial to the winner long term. The victim has no motivation to continue the relationship or give you anything you want. Professional negotiators know this is common fact yet we continue to adopt this mentality in our every day lives, both with our personal and professional relationships. If we are attacked we put up our defenses and if someone disagrees with us we go on the offensive. If we truly want to get traction and establish healthy and sustainable relationships, we must develop an open curiosity and release our preconceptions.

We’ve all heard of active listening, which involves not just listening but following up with related questions to show we are listening. Yet this shouldn’t be seen as a sales tactic, it doesn’t matter how good you think you are, people will pick up if you are anything less than genuine. If not in the moment, they’ll realize it later which may hurt your relationship and future prospects even more. To truly be successful and connect with people, it’s crucial to have a genuine curiosity for what they are saying. If you are simply thinking about how you will respond, than you are not truly understanding their reality and you’ll be right back where you started.

This isn’t about becoming a better negotiator, though I think that’s an important skill, it’s about establishing real connections and truly understanding our fellow human beings. Until we accomplish that, we will be stuck in the endless loop of hating each other for insignificant things like race, religion, and lifestyle. I’d much prefer the human race focus on real issues like not killing each other and ensuring everyone has a decent meal at the end of the day.