Control the Conversational Climate
Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes
If you own a television set, you have most likely seen an interrogation session where one or more members of some kind of law enforcement agency attempt to extract information from a suspect or convict. Or perhaps you have seen a witness being interrogated by a lawyer in a courtroom. This is done by the interrogator attempting to rouse the witness, suspect or criminal and get him or her to act on emotion and not reason. This is an example of controlling the conversational climate. For most of us, we will not find it necessary to interrogate witnesses or criminals, but we do want to maintain control of the conversational climates in our communications with others.
When you are in control of the conversational climate, you are not necessarily controlling the topic, but you are controlling the emotions expressed and the overall tone of the conversation. This is very often more important, and here’s why: studies have shown that somewhere around 90% of all content of a speech, presentation, or conversation is forgotten after just one week. What is left is the impression of the emotions expressed. In personal or business situations, you want to leave others with positive emotions and good feelings.
Controlling the conversational climate is based on the premise that negative + positive = neutral or positive. To illustrate, if you have a customer who called you just to tell you how lousy your product is, by responding with positive words and comments you can make the overall tone of the call either neutral or positive. Easier said than done, right? What isn’t? Controlling the conversational climate takes a positive mental attitude, self-control, understanding, sympathy, and compassion. It is the ability to counter negative emotions with the opposite emotion, and influence the other person with your positive attitude. You let the other person react from emotion, but you be sure to respond with reason.
Here are some of the more common emotions along with their positive opposite emotion.
confront anger with forbearance
confront anxiety with calmness
confront boredom with excitement
confront embarrassment with confidence
confront fear with courage
confront jealousy with trust
confront sadness with joy
Take positive control of the conversational climate in your speeches, presentations, formal talks, and even in your casual conversations and you will find that others will have a more positive impression of you as well as your ideas.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)