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Conversational Neurochemistry Ingelheim, Clairol, Donna Karen, Exide Technologies, Burberry, and Coach learn to boost performance with better C-IQ during their most challenging business transformations. With the power of quantitative analytics, we added another dimension to bring insights to the conversations about conversations. For our research, we asked managers how often they engaged in several behaviors—some which close down our brain, and others which open our brain —on a scale of 0 through 5, in which 0 was “never” and 5 was “always.” Managers’ positive and negative conversational behaviors They may be sending mixed messages. BEHAVIO URS Concern for others Oxytocinproducing behavior Cortisolproducing behavior Truthful about what’s on mind Stimulate discussion/curiosity Paint picture of mutual success Open to difficult concersations Don’s trust others’ intentions Focused on convincing others Others are not understanding Pretend to be listening Emorions detract from listening 0 1 2 3 4 5 Never Always MANAGERS’ SELF-REPORTED FREQUENCY SOURCE CREATING WE INSTITUTE/QUALTRICS HBR.ORG IMPLICATIONS: Certainty and Uncertainty in Relationships and Conversations! Our research with 2,000 executives shows that people are – in general – more frequently favoring behaviors that produce more oxytocin than cortisol. Questions in blue open people up to trust and connect with each other, while questions in red close people down and cause distrust. Survey respondents said that they exhibited all five positive behaviors, such as “showing concern for others” more frequently than all five negative ones, such as “pretending to be listening.” However, most respondents—about 85%—also admitted to “sometimes” acting in ways that could derail not only specific interactions but also future relationships. In fact the break down of respondents answers shows that some people exhibit the ‘cortisol producing behaviors’ very frequently. And, unfortunately, when leaders exhibit both types of behaviors it creates dissonance or uncertainty in others’ brains - spurring higher levels of cortisol production and reducing CI-Q. When we are in a state of uncertainty we begin to move back into fear creating a cycle of distrust in the organization. Fear trumps trust because cortisol trumps oxytocin. The impact of cortisol is more farreaching in our brain – an amazing organ that has evolved over the billions of years to protect us from harm. When trust is absent, we see REALITY with threatened eyes, and we: • Reveal less than what we know or what is helpful to move forward • Expect more than what is possible • Assume the worst in others • Look at situations with caution • Interpret communications with fear • Tell secrets we promised not to tell • Yes people to avoid confronting truth When we are in a state of uncertainty and distrust, the world feels threatening. Threats make us retreat. They make us feel we need to protect. We are more sensitive to feeling wrong, or feeling embarrassed, and we behave differently. I’m not suggesting that we can’t ever demand results or deliver difficult feedback. But we need to do so in a way that is perceived as inclusive and supportive to limit cortisol production and stimulate oxytocin production. Be mindful of your words, body language, and behaviors that open people up, and those that close people down, in your relationships. To gain greater influence, harness both the chemistry and psychology of conversations. Neuroscience of Trust: 1. Neuro-Tip #1: Trust is the feeling ‘I am safe and I know you have my back’’. Trust is associated with the release of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter, which is considered to be associated with love, bonding, collaboration, and elevating trust, and is viewed, according to neuroscientists, as the expectation of benevolence. Distrust, on the other hand, is associated with the release of cortisol (the fear hormone) and is associated with the expectation of malevolence. NEURO-INSIGHT: Our brain picks up signals of trust and distrust at the same time, and is often in a state of uncertainty. ACTION: When you want to build a healthy relationship, you can prime a conversation for higher levels of trust by Priming for Trust… • Priming: Walk into a conversation with an open, non-judgmental mindset. That way, you can influence your own brain, and that of others, to choose to be influenced by the trust signals over the distrust signals. For more information read… Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Bibliomotion, 2013) PE Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is an Organizational Anthropologist, and consults to Fortune 500 Companies. Judith is the author of 4 best selling business books, including her newest Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Bibliomotion, 2013) Email jeglaser@creatingwe.com Website www.conversationalintelligence.com, www.creatingwe.com Richard D. Glaser is President of Benchmark Communications, Inc., and Founding Member of The Creating WE Institute. He has worked with large biotech companies for his whole career, including Pfizer, AMF, GSK, Abbot, as well as running NASDQ companies. 22 Submit your Articles Personal Excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 10.2014


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