Do You Know How To Turn Blame into a Better Connection?

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Do You Know How To Turn Blame into a Better Connection?

November 28, 2008 Persuasion 3

The art of persuasion has its place in personal relationships. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.   One of my clients shared the following conversation with me, and I thought it made a great example of turning blame into connection through communication, even though not much else really changed.  It’s the conversation between a man and woman.  She wants more connection.  He wants a good connection, and also to read the paper.  Enjoy…

Her: You make me mad.

Him: (Thinking, that’s plausible enough. But I’m curious…) How, specifically, do I make you mad?

Her: By ignoring me when I talk to you.

Him: In what way do I ignore you?

Her: By reading the paper while I’m talking.

Him: So if I read the paper when you talk, that means I’m ignoring you?

Her: Yes.

He’s got a choice now. He can put down the paper, because he understands what this means to her.  And that will be the end of it. 

But he decides to go all the way:

Him: What would you rather I do when you talk to me?

Her: I want you to be interested.

Him: Interested in what way?

Her: In what I’m saying!

Him: How would you know that I was interested in what you were saying?

Her: Well, you could nod your head when I talk, maybe ask me some questions.

Now he knows what to do while reading the paper so she doesn’t feel like she’s being ignored, giving him more options for maintaining a positive connection!  But he also can ask for a counter-example, so he does:

Him: Do you ever read while someone’s talking? Maybe reading a menu while out to dinner with a group? Or a magazine while you’re at the beach with a friend?

Her: I suppose so.

Him: How is it possible for you to listen while reading?

Her: Well, sometimes I multitask.

Him: (with understanding, and a knowing look) Mmmhhmmm Is it possible that I can multitask too?  Is it possible that when I’m holding a paper and you’re talking, I’m actually listening to you?

Her: Yes, I suppose it’s possible.

Now it’s time for him to show a little gratitude for their new understanding.

Him: Thank you. I’m glad I understand you better and you understand me better.  I certainly enjoy hearing what you have to say. 

Now he can picks up the paper to finish reading in peace! 

Got any conversations you’d like to share?   Your comments are welcome.

be well

Rick

 

3 Responses

  1. J.D. Meier says:

    That scenario reminds me of three things:
    1. Rapport before influence.
    1. It’s a logical argument against an emotional concern (emotion trumps logic).
    2. Cross-expectations (what she expects vs. what he does).

    Let’s say going forward he doesn’t want to stop reading while she talks. Let’s say he’s already explained he’s “multitasking” and let’s say she doesn’t want multitasking and she wants his full engagement. Now you’ve got a values conflict. What would his next best move be then?

  2. If he’s in the ‘explaining’ mode, he’s already missed his window! The idea in this scenario is that by drawing out the other person, he finds the connecting points. It’s also meant to bring a smile to your face.

  3. J.D. Meier says:

    I like it! Great point on the timing issue.

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