An Open Attitude

Conversations run smoother when you have an open attitude towards your conversational partner and actively create a good working relationship. The collaboration is most effective when the other feels safe and listened to. This all sounds rather obvious, and is rather clichéd too. That’s why in this article we consider how to actually do this. Continue reading “An Open Attitude”

Do Difficult People Actually Exist?

Image: © 2016 P.L. Houtekamer

Try the following: Write down one of your good qualities and call that A. This can be any sort of quality, such as proactive, friendly or empathic. Now think about how another person would experience your behaviour if you were to exaggerate this good quality, and call this B. If you exaggerate ‘proactive’, for example, that could be experienced as meddling or pushy. There isn’t one correct answer; think about how you would experience an exaggerated behaviour in another. Now, think about what could be an opposite of B, but in a positive sense. For meddling that could be being patient, for example. This positive opposite, you call C. The last step is to exaggerate C: Someone who is too patient never gets going, or is passive, for example. This is called D. Now for the million-dollar question: Do people who demonstrate the behaviour D tend to irritate you? Continue reading “Do Difficult People Actually Exist?”

The Importance of Role-Playing

A skill is more than just knowledge; it is knowledge applied effectively using specific behaviour. Behaviour can be learnt, and is perfected by practice. We who work with people love talking, and can easily be seduced into long discussions about strategies and techniques – while talking about, we aren’t fully learning. It is only when we experience how a technique works that it becomes part of our toolkit. An ideal way to practice is via role-plays. In this short article I discuss how to make these role-plays more effective. Continue reading “The Importance of Role-Playing”

Must You Talk About A Loss

Lake Bohinj, Slovenia. Photograph © 2011 M.F. van Alphen

Loss has its roots in the environment – a situation arises in which something is lost. A loss is generally something irreversible, something permanent. It can be a loss of all kinds of things such as a loved one, your health (including the capabilities that are no longer available to you), a job, a relationship, trust (for example when your partner has had an affair), a marriage (after a divorce), or feelings of security or safety (after a traumatic experience). The key association with loss is that an attachment which has been developed is no more. Usually, sadness and depressive feelings stand at the forefront; but the whole gamut of negative emotions can also play a role. Continue reading “Must You Talk About A Loss”