No one enjoys “uncomfortable” conversations. Be it personnel issues, resource allocation or product direction.
But since we are intimately familiar with our own formulations, the goal of these discussions should be to extract from the other party additional information or an agreement to a certain position. To have them say/commit to more than they were initially willing to.
And there is no tool more powerful in the conversational arsenal than shutting the hell up.
It takes only a single beat of bizarre quiet to make the awkward conversation that much more so. And it works 100% of the time.
When faced with this silence I have yet to come across a person who does not continue just filling it with additional data.
More information. More agreements. No downside.
Next time you’re in a tense discussion, be it personal or business, try this simple little trick.
She has an app on her phone where she can view the schedule of classes and manage her attendance.
Obviously going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week is a great thing but the constant internal debate seems exhausting.
She is forever battling herself about the timing, the energy, the weather, child care, house responsibilities, work responsibilities. Should all those things line up she clicks “attend”. Should they not, she doesn’t and feels guilty.
The effort is in the deciding.
Now lets flip the script.
I run every day.
After work I come home, kiss my family, put on my running shoes and head out for 3 miles.
There is zero internal dialogue/debate leading up to the activity. I am going, period.
Staying active now requires zero mental energy [and zero guilt should I miss a day].
Which got me thinking…
Can this paradigm be implemented in other areas of life?
Like eating healthy: Instead of battling day in and day out, meal in and meal out, what if we said to ourselves, “at every meal I am going to eat healthy, period”. We’ve just eliminated many of our internal daily struggles.
Or being honest: Instead of having to continually conjure up historical context, maybe just say, “in every conversation I am going to be honest”. Mark Twain put it best — “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
Or work relationships: Instead of constantly being on the watch, what if we entered every situation as being helpful, thus eliminating the need for calculations [**caution: may be hazardous to near-term career prospects].
Embracing “always” frees up a ton of mental bandwidth that gets clogged with “sometimes”.
On Feb 5, with Brandon Vreeland videotaping, James Baker walked into a Dearborn, MI Police station wearing a ski mask, flak jacket and two visible guns.
They were angry that they were pulled over earlier in the day and wanted to “file a complaint”.
They believed they were being smart and just exercising their second amendment rights, which as far as I can tell, they were.
But the part of this story that gets lost is not the actions of these two “patriots”, but the completely sane [by being insane] reaction of the police.
You could argue the cops were so hyped because of the ski mask, but I’ll bet it had more to do with the loaded weapon of destruction slung across Baker’s chest and the loaded Glock 19 holstered on his hip.
Those two devices took the situation from a 1 or 2, instantly up to an 11.
But since Mo Guns, Mo Safety wouldn’t bringing two more firearms into the mix make the Police station a safer, more secure place to be?
That’s almost as silly as the guns regulations in Michigan.