Whether you’re a mother yourself, or indeed a son or daughter, Mother’s Day isn’t always the joyous occasion that Hallmark portray in their cards.
The media bombard us with images of “perfect” families sitting around a table having beautiful conversations over a homemade, lavish dinner. I wonder, is this the reality for you? Is the truth that, at best it’s a polite conversation and at worst it’s a full blown family row? In fact, many families don’t sit and eat together let alone talk together and the new norm is that every member of the family is on their own device – looking at their phone, iPad, TV or watching Netflix.
So are we losing the art of conversation? What will family life look like in 10 years time? If we’re not communicating at home, will this have an impact on how we communicate at work?
New research from the world of neuroscience shows that our conversations impact us in more ways than we ever knew and here’s the thing; conversations can cover a wide spectrum of quality, from telling, selling and yelling to asking, sharing and creating. Which of these scenarios happen at work? What do conversations at home look like?
When people are on the receiving end of being ‘told’ to, ‘sold’ to or yelled at, their bodies automatically go into ‘fight, flight, freeze or appease’. It’s protective and instinctive. It’s not a conscious choice. Your body though, knows what to do when you’re threatened, it produces Cortisol and Adrenalin. And it doesn’t matter if you’re on the receiving end sitting in a sales meeting or sitting at home with your family. The likelihood is, that if you’re at work, you lose trust in the person or people who are causing you this internal distress. Over time your communication and conversations become less honest and more guarded. You become less creative and less motivated to contribute.
Here’s a premise I’ve found to be true: what we do or how we behave at home or work will be mirrored in other areas of life. What does that mean? Let’s say your brain gets wired at work not to trust your boss or your co worker; it’s still operating with this ‘mind movie’ when you get home.
It’s a hard concept to get one’s head around but once you start looking for patterns in your life, they’ll jump out at you.
So here are three questions to reflect on:
How open are your conversations and what’s the difference between work and home conversations?
How stressful are your conversations? On a scale of 0-10, 10 being highly stressful, what number represents the stress you experience?
What do you hold back from telling people?
Imagine what it would be like to sit down on Mother’s day, Christmas day or your next boardroom meeting and have a ‘conversational structure’ that generates trust, sharing and co-creating.
If you’re curious or intrigued as to how you can improve communication and therefore profit, in the work place, let’s start a conversation!