In today’s world of selfie reflection we often get carried away with our online presence; seeing ourselves as important critics, often judging other people’s opinions harshly because they cannot see us, and then, when our posts are “Liked” by others, we feel validated. But what if online people could see us? What if our judgements were delivered in real time in a virtual HD kind of way? Would we be liked as much?
When we meet new people in our work or personal lives we strive to make good impressions. Unlike our “mask of anonymity” online presence, keeping conversations going with new “real life” people can be a little awkward. Especially if we don’t agree with the other person’s point of view or ideas. We are told that we “get more flies with honey than vinegar” that networking is key to building fulfilling careers, that being happy creates positive relationships. So how do we build rapport and turn awkward conversations into positive, fulfilling connections? Or to put it another way; how do we get people to like us?
When we offer up our ideas or opinions, none of us like to be judged. We don’t like our thoughts and opinions to be criticised either. But what if we don’t agree with the opinions of the other person? What if the ideas and opinions were crazy and off the wall? How can we get this person to like us if we don’t like or agree with what they are saying? We are not hiding behind an online presence – we are present, right here, in an awkward conversation.
Well, a quick Google search will give you the answers, but to save you the the time I will tell you that listening is vital but validation is the honey that gets more “Likes.” When faced with an opinion that differs from our own; listen, validate, ask questions. Don’t judge!
Validating someone’s opinion or idea does not necessarily mean you agree with it – it means you are agreeable! And agreeable people are well liked. Validating an opinion that you do not like or agree with is about listening and asking questions. The questions don’t need to be deep, they can be as simple as; “That’s really interesting. I’ve never heard it explained that way before. Tell me how you came up with that?” (As much as you would like to; try not to say this sarcastically). Now you appear interested and when the listener appears interested the speaker feels pleasure, and when we feel pleasure we can’t help liking the one we’re with. We feel good. We like and we are liked!
One of the most important things we can do when we engage in conversation, either with someone who has the potential to assist us in building our career or connect with us on a personal level, is to leave our judgement out of the room! When we hear judgements about our opinions and beliefs, the logical part of our brain shuts down and we prepare to fight. It’s the good old fight or flight response that we know so well, and my next blog will delve deeper into why we feel the need to judge!
“I love the village in my computer. There’s little validation in the day-to-day life of a writer; sometimes we ache for a connection” – Lisa Unger