Avoiding Soapbox Conversations

We meet. We converse. We enjoyed each other’s company. We part ways. We leave the conversation wondering what we are supposed to do next.

Why was that interaction vital to me?

Whether you have thought about it or not, you better start paying attention to the conversational reactions you are having. Internal conversations distract your attention and focus. They are preventing you from deepening your connection with the other person.

You withhold the greatest gift you can give, your full conscious attention. Your future success depends on changing this behavior.

I know what you are thinking…another post telling me what to do…just what I needed.

{Insert sarcastic reaction here}

Before you exit stage left, let’s get one thing clear. You and I cannot have a conversation without your full participation. We cannot help each other become a better version of ourselves without engaging in a meaningful two-way dialogue.

I intend to elevate our conversation…help you find your answers. 

You could view this post as a sermon, or you can view it as an opportunity to share your experiences while learning. Me standing on a soapbox preaching is a one-way conversation. This type of dialog is reserved for politicians, salespeople, lobbyists, and preachers.

Coaching clients repeatedly ask if I learn from our conversations. The answer is a resounding YES. I know how I show up in the world. I understand what is important to me. I learn what I need to work on. My perceptions are challenged, and I find new growth opportunities. My coachees help me find my answers.

Our true character is revealed in conversation.

Conversations are much more than an exchange of information. Every dialog reveals who we are and how we see the world. Our core beliefs and emotional state of being are ever-present and accounted for. Our physical and emotional reactions are clues to discovering our truth. Try as we might, we cannot hide who we are from the people we interact with.

Any attempts to internalize our thoughts and feelings will only mask our truth.

We cannot hide from our truth. We must be present, honest, and fully transparent with ourselves. Expansive growth comes from adopting these simple principles.

Unconscious conversing is akin to standing on a soapbox preaching.

Heightened awareness drives conscious communication. The excellent news is conscious awareness is a quickly learned skill. Learning how to raise our awareness opens the door to new possibilities.

Here are some guiding principles to help you begin your learning.—

  • We are who we are, and the other person is who they are
  • The only one we can control is ourselves
  • Our gender, cultural heritage, religion, family, occupations, education, social status, economic status, etc., mesh together to form our worldly view.
  • We are uniquely different from the next person, yet we are one with them
  • Our emotions and moods play a vital role in our development.
  • We have emotional reactions during conversations.
  • We have physical reactions during conversations.
  • We use verbal and body language to convey or protect our thoughts and feelings.
  • We may not feel safe sharing our thoughts and feelings with others.
  • There’s a good chance we are entirely transparent with other people.
  • Ironically, we are blind (w/o conscious effort) to how we show up

WOW… that’s a lot to think about. Take a deep breath…hold it…let it out. This is important stuff to learn about ourselves.

Do you recognize why this is important? 

Are you up for a little internal experimentation? Of course, you are. I hope you do.

There are many ways to become more self-aware. Allow me to offer two quick and easy-to-practice conversational self-awareness.

  1. For three conversations every day during the next week, intentionally take notice of what happens during conversations. Notice how your energy and mood shift. Notice how your emotions trigger a reaction in your body. Are you engaging or withdrawing from the conversation? What else do you observe?
  2. Select 3-5 conversations during the following week. Intentionally decide to take a confident attitude toward it. In the first conversation, “AGREE” to everything being said; go with it. In the following discussion, do the opposite and “DISAGREE.” Choose whatever attitude you want. The important thing is to try it. As with the previous practice, notice what is going on in your body and emotions.

What did you learn? Did you feel your awareness grow? 

Bonus practice: Try each approach by paying complete attention to the other person. Did you observe their reactionary shifts?