The art and science of conversation
There are many types of conversations at AIG. We just finished mid-year check-in conversations and will soon be discussing 2019 goals. Year-end discussions will be here before we know it. We all have one-on-one and virtual conversations on a daily basis, as well as career development discussions with our managers. Ultimately, having these frequent and ongoing interactions is just as important as the content discussed.
Trust and engagement are the building blocks of meaningful conversations. Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, said, “Trust is the glue to life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundation principle that holds all relationships.”
Holding effective conversations is a learned skill. In a study by Joseph Grenny, co-author of Crucial Conversations, he concluded that the most influential people are significantly more skilled at reaching agreement, solving problems and preserving trust by the way in which they communicate.
Chemistry also plays a significant role in how each of us experiences conversations. In an article by Judith and Richard Glaser, “The Neurochemistry of Positive Conversations” , they discuss that when we face criticism, rejection or fear, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that shuts down the thinking center of our brains; it activates a “flight or fight” reaction. On the other hand, positive conversations produce oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that increases the ability to communicate, collaborate and trust others.