The Four-second rule.
Have you ever been in a heated discussion where neither side is listening? Both sides think up their next talking point as the other is speaking. Chris Voss, the FBI’s top hostage negotiator, calls this the dueling schizophrenics, both parties speaking to themselves in their own heads, without listening. These conversations are what our divided nation looks like at the most micro level, the inability to communicate with each other and show respect. All it takes is the person we are conversating with to mention one point of view that helps us identify them as “the enemy” according to our source of news. Challenge yourself every time you communicate to really listen and care about what others have to say. Anger isn’t the only thing to inhibit listening, it can be excitement as well, we think “oh boy, what they just said leads so beautifully into what I am about to say!” then you proceed to interrupt and vomit all over them. How do you stop yourself? Try using the Four-Second Rule! Originally from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, Carnegie suggests that once someone seems to finish a thought or stop talking you pause for 4 seconds before speaking. This will seem like an eternity, but it is extremely powerful. Try asking someone how their day was and wait four seconds after they say “Good”, they will elaborate every time,” well there was this really annoying moment at work, then I had a good call with a client we were worried about”. This one habit will unlock sensitive political conversations and ease tensions. When someone feels listened to instead of attacked, they will be open and honest. Most shockingly, you will find that people don’t buy into extreme beliefs 100%. For example, a conservative thinks you are about to attack them so they preemptively throw out a “Pelosi and Democrats are so corrupt and owned by china!” ….. four-second rule…. “ Well look I know Trump has done plenty of bad things as well I just don’t see the Democrats doing anything to help.” Now that they tamped down their own rhetoric you can ask a targeted question, “haven’t done anything to help?”.