Communicating well isn’t just about choosing the right words.
Not that words aren’t important, they are. But they’re just one part of what makes a “good” conversation. And I’m not talking about body language here. I’m talking about language.
The thing is, we use language for more than expressing our thoughts. We do all sorts of things with it.
Our conversations are interactions in which we make moves, like in a game (- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations).
Conversations can serve all kinds of purposes, but the most successful conversations happen after trust and connection are established.
It’s pretty easy to achieve if you change your mindset.
Here’s the mindset shift in a nutshell:
At any point, even for a short while, you can change the dynamics of the conversation by shifting your focus from your own thoughts and how to express them to a mode of open curiosity.
You can move from a “telling and asking” dynamic of exchanging information back and forth, or a debate dynamic where everyone is “selling” their point of view, to a mode of exploring that allows for a higher-level of interaction.
You’re now interacting to connect.
This small mindset shift enables you to change your behavior:
🔹You ask questions to understand and learn
🔹You listen without an agenda and pay attention to the other person as they speak
🔹You’re more relaxed because you’re exploring, learning and sharing
🔹You’re more honest about your concerns
This kind of behavior doesn’t come naturally to us – we usually hear what we expect to hear and focus on what we want to say.
But these small steps are game changers.
The result isn’t just a good feeling. You actually affect everyone’s brain chemistry!
Every moment in every conversation produces a chemical reaction in the brain.
Research on the neurochemistry of conversations has shown that behaviors like these release Oxytocin, the hormone behind human connection, trust and creativity.
As a result, we get:
🔹An increased level of engagement
🔹Improved collaboration skills
🔹A greater capacity to think creatively
🔹A higher ability to solve problems
Instead of focusing on finding the right words, focus on designing better interactions.
Switch your mindset and your conversations will not only be more successful, they will be magical.