This is our second episode exploring The Law of Defensiveness, but this time we’re breaking it down into some clear steps on how to hone our ability to interact and work with other people!
Robert has five key strategies, some of which we dig, some of which we think need some careful reflection before we put them into practice.
Becoming a Deep Listener is a great place to start – by listening to others and getting out of your own head and internal narrative, we can learn so much more about the person across from us. When we pay real attention to what lights someone up and what makes them anxious, we’re able to shape our reactions appropriately, enriching the conversation and even forging a lasting relationship.
Jon brings up his experience of studying a ‘negotiation’ course. We dig into the ‘Mirror Technique’ and how to use it without sounding like a malfunctioning robot.
Another key technique is to proactively shape the mood of every interaction you have. This isn’t rocket science, and yet we so often neglect to do it. If we take the time to bring the right energy to a situation, we can match speeds with other people and truly connect with them. When we try to speak to their best selves, we pay them implicit compliments and give them a judgement-free space to really come out of their defensive shell.
Still, encouragement can be a delicate affair – we can be so prickly when it comes to critical feedback, but without it, we end up living a life of dangerous delusion. Confirming other people’s self-opinion is a vital skill, but we need to be very careful not to chug down flattery and get drunk on compliments at the expense of reality.
Another key principle is not to make other people feel beholden to you. As we explain, the counterintuitive trick to getting help is not to remind others that they owe you one, but instead to remind them of all they’ve done for you in the past.
And, perhaps most important of all, we must carefully allay other people’s insecurities by being sensitive to where they lack confidence. Instead, we can learn to praise their deliberate choices, valuing the work and effort they’ve made, rather than vaguely saying they have ‘talent’. Telling Adele she’s a great singer means nothing to her; complimenting her for the incredible nuance of her songwriting or emotional delivery, on the other hand, are far more meaningful contributions.
Remember, this isn’t about manipulation – this is about being a better human. If we could sum this up in a simple mantra, it would be: Don’t manipulate people – invest in your relationships. Dividends will follow, but only if the investment is real.
- The Conversation D-Pad – check it out here
- Providing the right kind of encouragement at the right moment
- Painting fences the Tom Sawyer way
- Doing a bad job… strategically
- Gifts that aren’t gifts
- The decline of Jordan Peterson
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